“We just need more resources”: OpenAI on Elon Musk’s accusations


Elon Musk is suing OpenAI, the company he co-founded. Now Musk says OpenAI no longer lives up to its very name and original vision of being open and nonprofit. He, however, accuses the company of being dependent on Microsoft. In his opinion this contradicts the founding idea that he tries to fight. However, since Musk has long since left the company, his case is unlikely to be heard. OpenAI still talks publicly about the allegations, including old emails and justifications, just like in a divorce war.


Shortly after its founding in 2015, OpenAI writes in the blog post, Sam Altman, Greg Brockman and Elon Musk realized that they needed a lot more money for their plans than they initially thought. And already in 2017 they realized that to develop Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) they would need so many billions that they would never be able to collect them as a non-profit company. As a result, there were disagreements about how one could still be successful.

Musk is said to have suggested further developing OpenAI as part of Tesla – or giving it full control as CEO. OpenAI didn’t want it because, as they write now, they considered it wrong to give this power to one person. However, after Sam Altman’s brief ouster last year, his power as CEO was, for example, clearly strengthened sole owner of the multi-million dollar OpenAI Startup Fund. So in a way this is the opposite of what they had in mind at the time.

To create serious competition to Google with DeepMind, Musk said at its founding, the company would have to be big. Since he was denied his plans or control over Tesla, Musk quit. He wanted to start his own artificial intelligence company. He did it with X.AI just under a year ago. Musk also wrote in 2018 emails: “Even raising several hundred million won’t be enough. We need billions a year immediately or we can forget about it.” This and other quotes come from the emails that OpenAI attached to blog post has.

OpenAI now receives billions from Microsoft. According to their own statement, they have no control or influence over the business and development of OpenAI. However, EU and US antitrust watchdogs are investigating whether this is actually true. And even Musk doubts its accuracy.

OpenAI wants to refute the accusation that it is no longer open, even in the sense of open source, by saying that Musk gave his consent when Ilya Sutskever, also a co-founder of OpenAI, changed plans. In the blog they mention the emails: “As Ilya told Elon: “The closer we get to the development of artificial intelligence, the more it will make sense to be less open. The word “Open” in openAI means that everyone should benefit from the fruits of AI after it is developed, but it is perfectly fine not to share the science…” to which Elon replied, “Yes.”” This confirms that OpenAI no longer wants to be open.

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OpenAI’s mission, as they write in every blog post and multiple times on their website, is to develop AGI that benefits everyone. For example, they mention that Albania is preparing to join the EU with ChatGPT and Iceland wants to preserve its language with GPT-4. However, overall funding of OpenAI and AI tools is on shaky ground. OpenAI is financially dependent on Microsoft. Both provide chatbots for free, but you have to pay to access the more powerful models. However, even these costs probably do not cover operating costs as well as development and research costs.

“We are saddened that someone we deeply admired has come to this: someone who inspired us to aim higher, then told us we would fail, started a competitor and then sued us when we did, began to make meaningful progress in OpenAI’s mission without him,” OpenAI’s blog post concludes. Musk has not yet commented on this aspect.


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