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Elon Musk Sues OpenAI: Profit Over Humanity

Quick Look

  • Musk sues OpenAI and CEO Altman, alleging profit prioritization over humanity.
  • The lawsuit claims that Altman’s deal with Microsoft led to AGI development for profit, not benefitting humanity.
  • OpenAI was founded as a not-for-profit to develop AGI for humanity’s benefit.
  • Concerns include AGI’s potential to evade control and endanger the planet.
  • OpenAI’s deal with Microsoft is under scrutiny by US, EU, and UK competition authorities.

Elon Musk, the world’s richest man and a founding board member of OpenAI, has filed a lawsuit against the artificial intelligence company and its chief executive, Sam Altman. Furthermore, Musk accuses Altman of betraying OpenAI’s foundational mission by prioritizing profit over the benefit of humanity. The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco, alleges that Altman’s deal with Microsoft has led the company to develop artificial general intelligence (AGI) for profit rather than for the benefit of humankind.

The Shift in OpenAI’s Mission

OpenAI was originally founded to check AGI’s perceived threat to humanity. The company design aimed to be a not-for-profit organization. Moreover, its product code was made public, and a board of overseers was to review any product created by the company. However, Musk’s lawsuit claims that OpenAI has transformed into a closed-source subsidiary of Microsoft. Thus, developing AGI to maximize profits for Microsoft rather than for the benefit of humanity.

Musk’s Allegations

Musk co-founded OpenAI in 2015 and has since left to form his own AI company, xAI. Now, he alleges that Altman’s actions violate OpenAI’s founding charter, constituting a breach of contract. Musk is seeking a jury trial. In addition, requesting that OpenAI, Altman, and co-founder Greg Brockman repay the profits they received from the business.

Concerns Over AGI

Musk and other tech experts have long expressed concerns about the potential dangers of AGI, including the possibility that it could evade human control and take actions that endanger the planet. Musk claims that Altman purported to share these concerns and that, together with Brockman, they agreed to create a lab that would develop AGI for the benefit of humanity.

Legal Challenges

OpenAI’s deal with Microsoft is currently under scrutiny by competition authorities in the US, the EU, and the UK. The company has yet to respond to Musk’s lawsuit publicly.

Legal experts have noted several challenges with Musk’s lawsuit. In fact, it includes questions about his standing to sue for breach of OpenAI’s founding agreement and the timing of his demands for the return of his investments in the company.

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