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Elon Musk Sues OpenAI Alleging Nonprofit Mission Betrayal

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Elon Musk, the entrepreneur who played a key role in founding OpenAI in 2015, has taken legal action against the artificial intelligence (AI) company and its CEO, Sam Altman. Musk, who departed from OpenAI in 2018, claims in court documents filed in San Francisco that the company has deviated from its original nonprofit purpose.

Elon Musk Sues OpenAI Alleging Nonprofit Mission Betrayal

Musk argues that recent changes in the boardroom structure have transformed OpenAI into what he considers a subsidiary of Microsoft, a software giant. This, according to Musk, violates the initial agreement of OpenAI being a nonprofit entity. Both Microsoft and OpenAI deny Musk’s allegations.

Furthermore, Musk accuses Microsoft of exerting control over OpenAI, a claim that has prompted antitrust investigations in the United States and Europe. Microsoft, currently the world’s largest company by market capitalization due to its significant involvement in AI, has chosen not to comment on the matter.

OpenAI gained widespread attention in 2022 with the introduction of ChatGPT, a chatbot capable of generating poems, essays, and excelling in exams. The company’s image and video-generating tools are also considered leaders in their field, contributing to the considerable investment flowing into the AI sector.

Microsoft, a major investor in OpenAI since 2019, increased its investment significantly last year. The software giant intervened when OpenAI’s board dismissed CEO Sam Altman in November, hiring Altman back and offering to accommodate any dissatisfied staff members. Musk’s lawsuit claims that these actions violate OpenAI’s Founding Agreement, marking a departure from the nonprofit’s original mission.

The legal dispute raises questions about the relationship between tech giants and AI research organizations, with broader implications for the future of the AI industry. Anupam Chander, Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, notes that the events of November do not appear to be an obvious breach of agreements and emphasizes the significance of Musk’s role in the establishment of OpenAI.

Source: Time