OpenAI Executives Say Elon Musk's Lawsuit Stems From His 'Regrets’ That He’s No Longer Part of the Company

By Jace Dela Cruz

Mar 02, 2024 05:54 AM EST

Top OpenAI executives have refuted claims by Elon Musk laid out in a lawsuit filed on Thursday, suggesting that the Tesla CEO's grievances are rooted in personal regrets rather than dissatisfaction with the company's direction. 

Anti-Semitism Symposium Held Ahead Of International Holocaust Remembrance Day
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KRAKOW, POLAND - JANUARY 22: SpaceX, X (formerly known as Twitter), and Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks during live interview with Ben Shapiro at the symposium on fighting antisemitism on January 22, 2024 in Krakow, Poland.

Elon Musk 'Regrets' Not Being Involved With OpenAI 

Citing an internal memo released on Friday, CNBC reported that OpenAI Chief Strategy Officer Jason Kwon said that Elon Musk's legal action likely stemmed from the tech billionaire's "regrets about not being involved with the company today."

"It is deeply disappointing to see Elon take this action against a company he helped start, especially given his close collaboration with some of you who are still here working towards the mission," Kwon added.

Musk, who co-founded OpenAI with Sam Altman in 2015, stepped down from its board in 2018, citing the potential for future conflicts of interest with Tesla's AI-focused endeavors. However, Musk eventually said disagreements with the OpenAI team prompted his departure.

Criticism from Musk towards OpenAI continues to persist, particularly concerning the company's multibillion-dollar deal with tech giant Microsoft. Musk asserted last year that OpenAI had shifted its focus towards maximizing profits, a departure from his intention. 

OpenAI, now valued at over $80 billion, was created as a nonprofit focused on developing AI that would "benefit humanity as a whole." In 2022, Musk said AI is "potentially more dangerous than nukes."

READ NEXT: Elon Musk Files Lawsuit Against OpenAI CEO Over Contract Breach And Prioritization Of Microsoft's Interests 

Lawsuit Filed by Elon Musk Against OpenAI

In his breach of contract lawsuit against Microsoft-backed OpenAI and its CEO Sam Altman, Elon Musk reiterated that the company has abandoned its original objective of developing AI for the benefit of humanity. 

The billionaire said Altman and OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman approached him in 2015 to establish a nonprofit laboratory to advance artificial general intelligence (AGI) for the betterment of humanity.

He also highlighted how he invested over $44 million into OpenAI from 2016 through September 2020. Musk has always sought recognition for his foundational role in OpenAI's establishment, and Kwon's memo acknowledged the billionaire's contributions but provided additional context.

Kwon highlighted instances wherein Musk advocated for "full" control and "majority equity" in the company's early stages and later proposed a merger with Tesla.

However, Kwon wrote that they "did not think either approach was right for the mission." In the memo, Altman described Musk as a hero but emphasized that OpenAI remains committed to its mission. He further noted that he missed the old version of his co-founder. 

READ MORE: Elon Musk Reportedly Rejects Offer to Have Shares in OpenAI - Here's Why

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