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Elon Musk Sues ChatGPT-Maker OpenAI, Sam Altman


Elon Musk sued ChatGPT-creator OpenAI and its co-founders Sam Altman and Greg Brockman Thursday, accusing the company of breaking its founding agreement and working to maximize profits for a key investor instead of humanity at large. Musk was a co-founder of OpenAI but stepped away from the company in 2018.

The lawsuit, which was filed on Thursday in a San Francisco Superior Court, focused on OpenAI’s relationship with Microsoft.

Elon Musk, the owner of Tesla and the X (formerly Twitter) platform. Photo by Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

“Under its new Board, [OpenAI] is not just developing but is actually refining an AGI [Artificial General Intelligence] to maximize profits for Microsoft, rather than for the benefit of humanity,” the filing reads.

Related: Microsoft Invests Billions in OpenAI, Creator of ChatGPT

In the lawsuit, Musk reinforced his part in OpenAI’s founding story and stated that Altman and Brockman had approached him in 2015 to make an open-source, non-profit company that would benefit humanity. The lawsuit alleged that OpenAI “set the founding agreement aflame” last year when it released its latest GPT-4, which the lawsuit called a Microsoft product.

Related: The CEO of Salesforce Pulled Out All the Stops to Poach OpenAI’s Talent — But Now Sam Altman Is Back

Musk asked the court to make OpenAI’s research and technology publicly available and to stop Microsoft and OpenAI execs from financially gaining from it.

Musk could stand to financially benefit if the court makes that move; he launched an AI company of his own last year called xAI, which stands in direct competition with OpenAI’s offerings. xAI has already secured $500 million from investors.

Related: OpenAI Introduces New Governance Model for AI Safety Oversight

Microsoft’s $13 billion, multiyear partnership OpenAI is one that regulators in the U.S. and U.K. are preparing to investigate. Microsoft has a 49% stake in OpenAI’s for-profit side and can capitalize on OpenAI’s advancements in products like Word, Excel, and Outlook.

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