Elon Musk Sues OpenAI For Serving Microsoft Not Humanity

Tesla and SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk filed a lawsuit against OpenAI — which he co-founded in 2015 — and its CEO, Sam Altman, Thursday with a San Francisco court, alleging the Microsoft-backed artificial intelligence (AI) company has abandoned its mission to develop AI “for the benefit of humanity broadly.”

The legal battle puts two tech industry leaders at odds over the future of AI at a time when advanced computational intelligence and machine learning are capturing the world’s imagination over the possibilities and dangers of AI. Musk helped co-found OpenAI in 2015, but stepped down from the board in 2018 and said AI is “potentially more dangerous than nukes.”

“To this day, OpenAI, Inc.’s website continues to profess that its charter is to ensure that AGI benefits all of humanity. In reality, however, OpenAI, Inc. has been transformed into a closed-source de facto subsidiary of the largest technology company in the world: Microsoft,” the filing stated.

“Under its new Board, it is not just developing but is actually refining an AGI to maximize profits for Microsoft, rather than for the benefit of humanity,” the lawsuit also alleged.

Lawyers for Musk said the goal is “to compel OpenAI to adhere to the Founding Agreement and return to its mission to develop AGI for the benefit of humanity, not to personally benefit the individual Defendants and the largest technology company in the world.”

Conservative commentator Ian Miles Cheong posted a video of Musk and Altman speaking about AI in 2015 with the caption, “Here’s what Sam and Elon thought about AI way back in 2015 when they spoke to Aaron Ross Sorkin. Elon hasn’t changed. What happened to Sam?”

Central to the dispute is the shift in OpenAI’s priorities from developing open-source software, as the name of the company suggests, to developing closed-source software aligned with the interests of Microsoft, a private corporation.

Since its debut in Nov. 2022, OpenAI’s artificially intelligent chatbot, ChatGPT, has ramped up the hype over AI’s possibilities and sparked several competitive large-language model (LLM) projects at big tech companies.