OpenAI Becoming Closed Source And For Profit, Is The 'Opposite Of What I Gave The Money For'

Elon Musk
Founder of Zip2,, PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla, Solar City, Hyperloop, OpenAI, Neuralink and The Boring Company

When companies are initially founded, they have dreams and goals to achieve. They can promise one thing, and then another.

But when they become a reality, many of those promises can be forgotten, and denied.

That is what Elon Musk thinks of OpenAI, the company he helped founded and established.

The billionaire filed a lawsuit against OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, alleging that the organization has deviated from its foundational mission.

"Look, it does seem weird that something can be a non-profit, open source, and somehow transforms itself into a for-profit, closed source."

"I mean, this would be like, let's say you funded an organization to save the Amazon rainforest and instead they became a lumber company and chopped down forest and sold it for money."

Elon Musk.
Elon Musk.

As a founding board member, Musk played a significant role in founding he company, and that he also provided substantial funding during its early years.

He helped OpenAI establish because he wants it to be a non-profit AI lab with the goal of developing artificial general intelligence (AGI) for the benefit of humanity.

After all, the company's name, "OpenAI," emphasizes openness, and open-source technology.

But fast forward, the lab’s principles seem to be no longer present.

Musk claims that Altman breached OpenAI’s mission by prioritizing profit over humanity.

By signing an investment deal with Microsoft, according to Musk, Altman effectively transformed OpenAI into a "closed-source, de facto subsidiary" of Microsoft.

And this derails it from its original mission.

Instead of researching to advance AI for the benefit of humanity, OpenAI is refining its AGI goal to maximize profits for Microsoft.

And when OpenAI released GPT-4, a powerful language model underlying their ChatGPT chatbot, the software for it is kept secret, which is a contrary to OpenAI’s transparency principles, and openness goal.

In the lawsuit, Musk alleged that this secrecy was driven by commercial considerations, not safety.

"That's the exact opposite of what I gave the money for."

Musk and many other experts view AGI as both a potential existential threat and a source of profit and power.

They worry that AGI could evade human control and take actions endangering the planet.

But again, humanity is still clueless about this technology, and this is why they are researching for ways to keep humanity in control.

OpenAI’s original mission aimed to prevent threats by developing AGI for the benefit of humanity.

But by becoming closed source and for-profit, Musk’s lawsuit accused CEO Altman, and President Greg Brockman of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and unfair business practices.

Sam Altman, Elon Musk.
Two men, the same goal, but different mission. Sam Altman (left) allegedly breached contract, according to Elon Musk.

The suit contends that OpenAI’s actions violated the founding agreement and its commitment to humanity.

Musk’s lawsuit asserts that OpenAI’s shift toward profit-seeking behavior contradicts its original purpose, and he seeks to hold the organization accountable for its mission deviation.

Read: The Greatest Risk We Face As A Civilization, Is Artificial Intelligence