Elon Musk sues OpenAI and Sam Altman for violating company principles

Elon Musk sues OpenAI and Sam Altman for violating company principles

Elon Musk filed a lawsuit against OpenAI and its CEO, Sam Altman, for violating a contract by prioritizing profits and commercial interests in the development of artificial intelligence over the public good.

Musk, who helped create OpenAI with Altman and others in 2015, said the company’s multibillion-dollar partnership with Microsoft represented an abandonment of his founding promise to carefully develop AI and make the technology publicly available.

“OpenAI has transformed itself into a de facto closed-source subsidiary of the largest technology company, Microsoft,” says the lawsuit, which was filed Thursday in San Francisco Superior Court.

The lawsuit is the latest chapter in an ongoing fight between the former business partners that has been simmering for years. After Musk left OpenAI’s board of directors in 2018, the company became a leader in the field of generative AI and created ChatGPT, which can produce text and answer queries in human prose. Musk, who has his own artificial intelligence company called xAI, said OpenAI does not focus enough on the technology’s existential risk to humanity.

Musk’s lawsuit claims that OpenAI was created as a nonprofit organization to develop artificial intelligence for the “benefit of humanity.” A key component of this, according to the lawsuit, was making its technology open source, meaning it would share the underlying software code with the world. Instead, the company created a for-profit business and has restricted access to its technology.

OpenAI and Musk did not respond to requests for comment.

The lawsuit is a new challenge for Altman, who was briefly ousted as CEO of OpenAI last year before regaining control of the company. In addition to Mr. Altman, the lawsuit also names Greg Brockman, president of OpenAI, as a defendant.

The New York Times sued OpenAI and Microsoft in December, alleging copyright infringement of news content that was used to train the chatbots.

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John C. Johnson

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