OpenAI: Musk Gives Meager $45M Contribution, Seeking Tesla Merge or Takeover

The organization also secured more than $90 million from other donors to support its research efforts. This is when disagreements started between Musk and other co-founders of Tesla, OpenAI wrote in the blog post, which includes five email exchanges between Musk and OpenAI executives. “As we discussed a for-profit structure in order to further the mission, Elon wanted us to merge with Tesla or he wanted full control. Elon left OpenAI, saying there needed to be a relevant competitor to Google/DeepMind and that he was going to do it himself. As Ilya told Elon: ‘As we get closer to building AI, it will make sense to start being less open.

OpenAI, the most valuable AI startup, recently addressed claims made by Elon Musk in a lawsuit, adamantly denying their validity. The startup also suggested that Musk, who was involved in its co-founding, did not have a significant impact on its development and success.

In a blog post authored by the entire OpenAI team – Greg Brockman, Ilya Sutskever, John Schulman, Sam Altman, Wojciech Zaremba, and OpenAI – it was revealed that since its establishment in 2015, the company has received less than $45 million in funding from Musk, despite his initial pledge to provide up to $1 billion. The organization has also received over $90 million from other donors to support its research endeavors.

The response from OpenAI comes after Musk filed a lawsuit last week, accusing Altman, Brockman, OpenAI, and other affiliates of violating their original contractual agreements by prioritizing profits over the nonprofit’s mission to develop AI that benefits humanity. Musk claimed that the founding agreement required OpenAI’s technology to be “freely available” to the public, and that the organization had shifted its focus to maximizing profits for Microsoft.

According to the blog post, as OpenAI realized the immense computational resources needed to develop artificial general intelligence (AGI) – an AI with intelligence equal to or surpassing that of humans – estimated to cost billions of dollars annually, the necessity for a for-profit structure became apparent.

The tensions between Musk and other Tesla co-founders arose when discussing a for-profit structure to further the nonprofit’s mission. OpenAI stated that Musk wanted them to merge with Tesla or have full control. Eventually, Musk left OpenAI, stating the need for a relevant competitor to Google’s DeepMind and claiming he would create one himself. However, he did express support for OpenAI to continue on its own path.

OpenAI maintains that its mission is to ensure that AGI benefits all of humanity, including developing safe and beneficial AGI while promoting widespread access to its tools. The startup cited examples of how its technology is being utilized in Kenya and India to empower people and improve their daily lives.

“We are disheartened that it has come to this with someone we deeply admire – someone who inspired us to aim higher, then told us we would fail, started a competitor, and then sued us when we began making substantial progress towards OpenAI’s mission without his involvement,” OpenAI wrote in their blog post.

In response to Musk’s accusations of OpenAI straying from its open-source principles, the Microsoft-backed startup argued that Musk was aware of and agreed to the eventual shift away from complete transparency as the organization made significant advances in AGI development.

“Elon understood that our mission did not require open-sourcing AGI,” stated Ilya. “As we get closer to building AI, it will make sense to start being less open. The ‘Open’ in OpenAI means that everyone should benefit from the fruits of AI once it is created, but it is perfectly acceptable to not share the science…,” to which Elon replied with, “Yup.”

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Ava Patel

Ava Patel is a cultural critic and commentator with a focus on literature and the arts. She is known for her thought-provoking essays and reviews, and has a talent for bringing new and diverse voices to the forefront of the cultural conversation.

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