Musk Files Lawsuit Against OpenAI For Violating Company Mission – The TechLead

  • Elon Musk has sued OpenAI and Sam Altman for violating the initial foundations of their contract. He was one of the co-founders of the company and between 2016 and 2020, he also invested $44 million in the company. 
  • If the lawsuit goes through, the defendants will be facing 7 counts of action. 

OpenAI has found itself in new troubled waters as one of its oldest investors, Elon Musk, is suing the company over alleged violation of the initial agreement upon which he agreed to invest in the company.

Musk says that when he initially agreed to help out the company, it had set out to be a non-profit, open-source entity. Advancement of technology and benefitting the human race were one of its top priorities. But now it looks like its only concern is getting profits and maximizing the return for other top investors like Microsoft.

This case is filed to compel OpenAI to adhere to the founding agreement and return to its mission to develop artificial general intelligence (AGI) for the benefit of humanity, not to personally benefit the individual defendants and the largest technology company in the world.Lawsuit

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Elon Musk’s Journey With OpenAI 

Musk is one of the founders and first investors of OpenAI. But in 2018, he parted ways with the company saying it’s too focused on monetary gains and digressed from what it actually set out to do. However, he still continued to invest in the company.

In fact, as per the lawsuit, he has invested $44 million in the company between 2016 and 2022.

But their relationship was further strained with the launch of ChatGPT in 2022— the OpenAI flagship chatbot. On top of that, Microsoft emerged as another major investor in the tech company, chipping away at the influence Musk had on it before.

All these factors together, and Musk’s feeling that the company is moving too fast, led to this lawsuit today.

Another big reason why Musk is so against this rapid AI development is because he’s actually concerned about the consequences. In his lawsuit, he mentioned that although he is in favor of developing artificial intelligence, the whole process has to be handled very carefully or it might backfire.

In fact, last May he signed a letter with the other members of the Centre of AI Safety stating that careful handling of AI should be one of the top global priorities or it could trigger an unstoppable extinction event.

However, speculations have given rise to other possible reasons behind this move. One of them is monetary compensation. Now that OpenAI is more influenced by Microsoft, Musk might be seeking monetary compensation for all the investments he made in setting up and running the company in the initial years.

Another cause could be his new project—Grok— Musk’s new AI chatbot that’s still in the rollout phase across many countries. So this might just be an attempt on his part to clear the field for his product.

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Microsoft’s Rights On AGI 

One of the important clauses of the lawsuit is AGI – Artificial General Intelligence. According to Musk, OpenAI’s deal with Microsoft gives the latter access to its pre-AGI technology i.e. ChatGPT-3.

But Microsoft is already using ChatGPT-4 (which runs on AGI) in many of its products, including its latest chatbot called Copilot.

He has also urged the court to look into GPT 4’s intelligence level and decide if it’s at par with humans. It’s not just for technical reasons but Musk has long-standing concerns over the rapid growth of AI. It’s about the future of AI and humanity and the social, legal, and economic implications if this growth continues.

Whatever the court decides is sure to change the trajectory of AI’s journey. As for OpenAI and Sam Altman, if this lawsuit goes through, the defendants will be facing 7 counts of charges.

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