Elon Musk sues OpenAI and Sam Altman because they no longer seek the “good of humanity” | Technology

The war between Elon Musk and Sam Altman increases a point of intensity. The owner of Tesla filed a lawsuit last night against OpenAI, the company responsible for ChatGPT, against its CEO, Sam Altman, and against other senior officials of the organization, such as Greg Brockman (president of OpenAI), for having abandoned the original mission of the company he co-founded: to contribute to the development of artificial intelligence (AI) in a selfless, non-profit way. Musk believes that this is totally impossible in light of OpenAI’s agreement with Microsoft, the largest company in the world by market capitalization, which has invested $13 billion in its partner.

Musk’s lawyers maintain that, from the moment Microsoft partnered with OpenAI, it changed its objective and focused on making money, which conflicts with its founding contract. “OpenAI, Inc. has become a de facto closed-source subsidiary of the largest technology company in the world: Microsoft,” reads the lawsuit filed in San Francisco. “Under his new board of directors, he is not only developing, but also perfecting, AGI (general AI, which can match or surpass human capabilities) to maximize Microsoft’s profits, rather than for the benefit of humanity.” .

Musk’s legal team also argues as an example that the company kept the design and development of GPT-4, the most advanced model launched to date, in “absolute secrecy.” And he adds a quote from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella from November last year: it wouldn’t matter “if OpenAI disappeared tomorrow. (…) We have its capabilities, its people, its computing, its data. We have it all”.

Elon Musk was one of the founders of OpenAI, which was born in 2015 as a non-profit organization that sought to contribute to the scientific development of AI. The owner of Tesla, SpaceX or X (the old Twitter) contributed $50 million of his personal fortune to get it started.

Unofficially, OpenAI was the attempt by Musk and other Silicon Valley heavyweights, such as Peter Thiel, one of the first investors in Facebook and founder of Palantir, to try to confront the supremacy that Google had at that time in the development of this technology. One of the necessary triggers for the emergence of OpenAI, whose name was Musk’s idea, was when Google bought DeepMind in 2014, one of the world’s leading laboratories in deep learning, the most powerful AI technique. “Musk was deeply concerned about it. “He believed (and continues to believe) that in the hands of a private, for-profit company like Google, artificial intelligence poses a danger to humanity,” the text of the lawsuit explains.

It was Musk himself who put Altman in charge of OpenAI. Although that relationship was cut short a few years later: he left the organization in 2018, which was one of the biggest mistakes of his career, as he has acknowledged. Already outside OpenAI, he pushed a letter calling for a six-month moratorium on AI research and, in the meantime, developed his own project, xAI, which he presented at the end of last year Grok, your alternative to ChatGPT.

Altman, for his part, has become the visible head of the generative AI revolution, largely championed by his company. The executive was suddenly fired last year by the OpenAI shareholder meeting. However, after pressure from staff, who even threatened to leave en masse to Microsoft, he was reinstated in less than a week.

ChatGPT is one of the most successful applications in history. Launched in November 2022, it reached 100 million users in two months, a record never seen before, and today it has around 200 million users. Its emergence sparked a race in the technology sector to lead the so-called generative AI. Microsoft soon partnered with OpenAI itself, in an alliance that is still being examined by US and EU competition authorities, while Google reorganized internally to accelerate the launch of AI-based tools.

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