OpenAI seeks to dismiss all of Musk’s claims in lawsuit

March 6, 2024 - 4:57 PM
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OpenAI logo
OpenAI logo is seen in this illustration taken, February 3, 2023. (Reuters/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo)

ChatGPT maker OpenAI on Tuesday refuted Elon Musk’s claims that the startup abandoned its original mission to develop artificial intelligence for the benefit of humanity and not for profit.

OpenAI said in a blog post that it intends to move to dismiss all of Musk’s claims. Musk filed a lawsuit against the startup he co-founded last week, alleging breach of contract, saying the Microsoft-backed firm is now focused on making money.

OpenAI said Musk wanted the company to merge with electric vehicle maker Tesla, and he forwarded an email that said the startup should “attach to Tesla as its cash cow”.

OpenAI said the suggestion came after Musk and the company decided the next step was to create a for-profit entity in 2017 to generate capital for building artificial general intelligence (AGI).

The billionaire entrepreneur then wanted majority equity, initial board control, and to be CEO of OpenAI, the company said.

But OpenAI and Musk could not agree to terms on a for-profit because the startup felt it was against the mission for any individual to have absolute control over the firm.

In his lawsuit, Musk said OpenAI’s three founders originally agreed to work on AGI, a concept that machines could handle tasks like a human, but in a way that would “benefit humanity,”.

Musk also pushed OpenAI to announce an initial $1 billion funding commitment in 2015, after CEO Sam Altman and co-founder Greg Brockman initially planned to raise $100 million.

“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,” OpenAI said.

Musk and Tesla did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for a comment on the blog.

Musk’s lawsuit is a culmination of his long-simmering opposition to the startup. OpenAI has since become the face of generative AI, partly due to billions of dollars in funding from Microsoft. Musk went on to found his own artificial intelligence startup, xAI, launched last July.

— Reporting by Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich