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OpenAI hits back at Musk; says he pushed for full control or Tesla merger

Musk to not attend Vibrant Gujarat Summit

OpenAI, parent of popular artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT, has fired back at his recent lawsuit alleging the company strayed from its original mission. OpenAI claims Elon Musk, who was among the initial co-founders of the research lab, himself advocated for a for-profit structure and even a merger with Tesla.

Elon wanted us to merge with Tesla or he wanted full control. Elon left OpenAI, saying there needed to be a relevant competitor to Google/DeepMind and that he was going to do it himself,” the company said in a blog co-authored by OpenAI’s CEO and co-founder Sam Altman, and other co-founders Greg Brockman, Ilya Sutskever, John Schulman and Wojciech Zaremba.

In a blog post, OpenAI details discussions with Musk from 2015, revealing that despite initially pledging $1 billion, his actual contributions fell short at $45 million. They argue the vast resources needed for safe and beneficial Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) development necessitated a for-profit arm.

However, when such a structure was proposed, OpenAI says Musk “wanted majority equity, initial board control, and to be CEO.” They further alleged that the Tesla and SpaceX owner withheld funding in middle of these conversations. They further allege that the billionaire suggested merging OpenAI with Tesla, viewing the electric car giant as a “cash cow” to fund AGI research and hold a candle to its rival tech giant Google.

“We’re sad that it’s come to this with someone whom we’ve deeply admired—someone who inspired us to aim higher, then told us we would fail, started a competitor, and then sued us when we started making meaningful progress towards OpenAI’s mission without him,” the blog added.

In late February, Musk filed a lawsuit with a San Francisco court against OpenAI and other executives including its chief Sam Altman saying that AI company has “abandoned its non-profit mission of developing AGI for the benefit of humanity broadly.” It alleged that OpenAI is now prioritizing Microsoft’s financial gain over the original philanthropic goals. The lawsuit specifically mentions OpenAI’s recent partnership with Microsoft and the secrecy surrounding their most advanced AI model, GPT-4, as evidence of this shift.

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