OpenAI Memo Suggests Elon Musk’s Claims Arise from Regret Over Departure from the Company

Executives at OpenAI have responded to claims made by  Elon Musk in a lawsuit filed on Thursday, disputing his assertions and suggesting that his legal action may stem from regret over his departure from the artificial intelligence startup.

In an internal memo seen by CNBC on Friday, OpenAI’s Chief Strategy Officer, Jason Kwon, expressed disappointment over Musk’s lawsuit, implying that it reflects his disappointment at no longer being part of the company. Kwon emphasized Musk’s integral role in founding OpenAI in 2015 and his subsequent departure from the board in 2018, noting Musk’s earlier warnings about the potential dangers of AI.

Elon Musk’s lawsuit against OpenAI sparks debate over its founding mission and corporate evolution.

Musk’s lawsuit targets Microsoft-backed OpenAI and its CEO, Sam Altman, among others, alleging a deviation from the company’s original mission of developing AI for the benefit of humanity. Since the public release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot in late 2022, the company has experienced significant growth, with a reported valuation exceeding $80 billion.

However, internal struggles, including Altman’s brief ousting from the board last year, have surfaced due to the company’s complex “capped-profit” structure. Musk’s legal team asserts his substantial financial contributions to OpenAI, totaling over $44 million between 2016 and September 2020, as well as his provision of initial office space and involvement in significant company milestones.

However, Kwon adds context to Musk’s involvement, noting instances where Musk sought full control and majority equity and proposed a merger with Tesla, which OpenAI deemed unsuitable for its mission.

Memo reveals the reason behind Musk's lawsuit.
The internal memo reveals OpenAI’s perspective on Elon Musk’s legal action and past involvement. (Credits: Unsplash)

Despite acknowledging Musk’s early contributions, Altman, in the memo, expresses admiration for Musk but emphasizes the company’s commitment to its mission.

While this lawsuit marks the first public confrontation between Musk and OpenAI, tensions have existed for some time. Notably, Tesla hired OpenAI co-founder Andrej Karpathy, who later returned to OpenAI in 2023. Musk has also publicly criticized OpenAI’s transformation into a for-profit entity, questioning its alignment with its original open-source mission.

Kwon maintains OpenAI’s independence and dedication to ensuring that artificial general intelligence benefits humanity as a whole. As of now, no response has been provided by Musk’s legal representatives.

Michael Manua
Michael Manua
Michael, a seasoned market news expert with 29 years of experience, offers unparalleled insights into financial markets. At 61, he has a track record of providing accurate, impactful analyses, making him a trusted voice in financial journalism.
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