Elon Musk sues OpenAI and its CEO Sam Altman for breach of contract

(CNN) — Elon Musk sued OpenAI and its CEO, Sam Altman, saying that the company behind ChatGPIT deviated from its original non-profit mission by entering into a $13 billion partnership with Microsoft and keeping the code of its new products secret. Has been. Of Generative Artificial Intelligence.

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Musk, who co-founded OpenAI in 2015, left it and created his own artificial intelligence company, xAI. Their complaint, filed Thursday in California state court, says the company and its partnership with Microsoft violate OpenAI’s founding laws, amounting to a breach of contract. Musk is seeking a jury trial and the company is seeking to return profits from that business to Altman and co-founder Greg Brockman.

OpenAI was born as a watchdog whose co-founders believed that Artificial Generative Intelligence, or AGI, was a serious threat to humanity. The company created a board of supervisors to review any product it made, and the code for its products was made public.

But Altman, Brockman and chief scientist Ilya Sutskever formed OpenAI LP in 2019, a for-profit entity that exists within the structure of a larger company. That for-profit company took OpenAI from nothing to a $90 billion valuation in just a few years, and Altman is credited with being the brains behind the plan and key to the company’s success. company.

OpenAI has not yet responded to CNN’s request for comment on the issue.

The lawsuit also cites a high-profile leadership crisis last year that led to Altman being temporarily ousted from the company, apparently due to concerns from several board members about the risks of artificial intelligence. After several days of uncertainty and interference from Microsoft, Altman regained his position, which industry analysts called a victory for those commercializing artificial intelligence technology.

Elon Musk

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla and owner of X, formerly known as Twitter, attends the Viva technology conference in Paris on June 16. (Credit: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters)

Thursday’s lawsuit reiterates that claim.

“The public still does not know what exactly was the Board’s ‘deliberative review process’ that resulted in Mr. Altman’s initial dismissal,” the complaint states. “However, one thing is clear to Mr. Musk and the public at large: OpenAI has abandoned its ‘irreversible’ non-profit mission in favor of for-profit.”

Although Microsoft, which has invested billions of dollars in OpenAI and has closely collaborated with startups, is not named as a defendant in Musk’s lawsuit, the tech giant is listed 68 times in the complaint.

Most of the lawsuits question OpenAI and Microsoft’s apparent influence on Microsoft’s financial position. Musk had previously threatened to sue Microsoft and accused the company of stealing content from Musk’s social media company X to train Microsoft’s artificial intelligence tools.

“OpenAI, Inc. has transformed itself into a de facto closed-source subsidiary of the world’s largest technology company: Microsoft,” Thursday’s lawsuit says. “Under his new board, he is not only developing but actually refining AGI to maximize Microsoft’s profits.”

Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, left OpenAI in 2018. Since then, he has denounced the dangers of artificial intelligence. In the complaint, he accused the current leaders of OpenAI of being greedy.

“While some, like Mr. Musk, see an existential threat in AGI, others see it as a source of profit and power,” the complaint says.

This story has been updated with additional context of the complaint.

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