Elon Musk Sues OpenAI For Diverging From Non-Profit Mission

Paige Henley
Paige Henley Editor
Paige Henley Paige Henley Editor

Elon Musk, the original co-founder of OpenAI in 2015, has filed a lawsuit against the company and its CEO Sam Altman. The lawsuit alleges a breach of contract, stating that since OpenAI has partnered with Microsoft for $13 billion and is keeping its generative AI code a secret, it has violated the company’s founding charter.

“OpenAI was created as an open source (which is why I named it “Open” AI), non-profit company to serve as a counterweight to Google, but now it has become a closed source, maximum-profit company effectively controlled by Microsoft. Not what I intended at all,” Musk tweeted.

The original sentiment behind the agreement was that the non-profit would make AI available to everyone and generally “benefit humanity”. One of its primary principles was that the code for all products developed would be open to the public.

Musk claims that OpenAI has developed a new AGI (artificial generative intelligence) behind closed doors and has licensed it to Microsoft. Musk’s concern is that if controlled by Microsoft, the technology will become a for-profit commodity, jeopardizing the intended open development.

“However, one thing is clear to Mr. Musk and the public at large: OpenAI has abandoned its ‘irrevocable’ non-profit mission in the pursuit of profit,” the complaint states.

Despite Musk’s accusations, many experts have questioned whether the pursuit of profit means that OpenAI is no longer a non-profit. All non-profits must have cash flow, and Microsoft has heavily invested in the company for years. It remains to be seen if this partnership is really a red flag regarding OpenAI’s commitment to its founding purpose.

The heart of the lawsuit comes down to just two things: is ChatGPT-4 AGI, and is OpenAI still a non-profit? Musk says yes to both, while Altman and many AI experts say no.

As the lawsuit unfolds, we can expect bigger discussions about the ethical and legal dimensions of AI development, as well as the future trajectory of artificial intelligence as a whole.

About the Author

About the Author

Paige Henley is an editor at SafetyDetectives. She has three years of experience writing and editing various cybersecurity articles and blog posts about VPNs, antivirus software, and other data protection tools. As a freelancer, Paige enjoys working in a variety of content niches and is always expanding her knowledge base. When she isn't working as a "Safety Detective", she raises orphaned neonatal kittens, works on DIY projects around the house, and enjoys movie marathons on weekends with her husband and three cats.