Elon Musk sues ChatGPT-maker OpenAI over Microsoft links given Non-Profit Mission

Elon Musk sues ChatGPT-maker OpenAI over Microsoft links given Non-Profit Mission

Elon Musk has launched legal action against OpenAI, the developers of ChatGPT, asserting that the company has veered away from the principles agreed upon when he co-founded it in 2015.

The lawsuit, which also targets OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, alleges that the company has strayed from its original non-profit, open-source objectives. Instead of focusing on its initial mission to “benefit humanity,” as stipulated, the suit claims OpenAI is now prioritising “maximising profits” for its major investor, Microsoft.

OpenAI has been contacted for response regarding the lawsuit.

Established with the goal of advancing artificial general intelligence (AGI) – AI capable of performing tasks equivalent to humans – OpenAI was also founded as a not-for-profit entity, thereby foregoing profit-driven objectives.

The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco, contends that Elon Musk agreed to establish OpenAI under these conditions, alongside Sam Altman and co-founder Greg Brockman, before departing the company three years later.

The legal action aims to compel OpenAI to adhere to its founding agreement and realign with its original mission of developing AGI for the benefit of humanity, rather than serving the personal interests of individual defendants and Microsoft.

This lawsuit follows reports from the Wall Street Journal suggesting that US regulators have initiated investigations into OpenAI amid allegations of investor deception, stemming from internal conflicts at the company in November 2023.

During this period, Sam Altman was abruptly removed from the board before being reinstated as CEO days later, amid accusations of inconsistent communication from the board.

Microsoft became entangled in the dispute, even extending offers to hire departing OpenAI staff. Elon Musk expressed concerns over the situation via a post on X (formerly Twitter).

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The lawsuit contends that these “dramatic developments” underscore Microsoft’s growing influence over OpenAI. It alleges that OpenAI’s technology, including GPT-4, is primarily closed-source to serve Microsoft’s proprietary commercial interests.

Microsoft’s substantial investment in OpenAI, starting with a $1 billion backing in 2019 and expanding to a multi-year, multi-billion partnership in January 2023 following the launch of ChatGPT, is now under scrutiny by regulators in the UK, EU, and US.

The lawsuit further alleges that OpenAI has kept details about the design of its latest AI model, GPT-4, secret primarily for commercial reasons, rather than safety concerns.

Among other outcomes sought, Elon Musk’s legal team aims to compel OpenAI to continue making information regarding its AI developments accessible to the public.

Microsoft has declined to comment on the matter.

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