Elon Musk drops lawsuit accusing OpenAI of breaching founding promise

Tesla owner accused ChatGPT maker of breaking pledge to develop AI solely to benefit humanity and not for profit

Vishwam Sankaran
Wednesday 12 June 2024 05:55 BST
Elon Musk withdraws lawsuit against OpenAI

Elon Musk has dropped his lawsuit accusing OpenAI of breaching its founding promise to develop artificial intelligence solely for the benefit of humanity.

The Tesla owner, an early backer of OpenAI, sued the ChatGPT maker in February saying it had gone against its founding mission and failed to make its findings open source as promised.

Mr Musk said when it initially approached him for investment, OpenAI pledged it would be an open source, nonprofit company, only to break its promise and focus on making money.

OpenAI “set the founding agreement aflame” when it released its AI language model GPT-4, the lawsuit alleged.

The ChatGPT maker responded by calling Mr Musk’s claims “incoherent”, “frivolous”, “extraordinary” and “fiction”.

It said the firm had “no founding agreement, or any agreement at all with Musk”.

Mr Musk has now asked the California state court to dismiss his lawsuit, without offering a reason.

Representatives of Mr Musk and OpenAI did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Independent.

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The lawsuit was the culmination of a long battle between the SpaceX chief and the ChatGPT maker, which has become the face of generative AI technology and AI chatbots.

“We’re sad that it’s come to this with someone whom we’ve deeply admired – someone who inspired us to aim higher, then told us we would fail, started a competitor, and then sued us when we started making meaningful progress towards OpenAI‘s mission without him,” OpenAI said in a blog post after Mr Musk sued the company.

The Tesla chief then launched his own AI startup, xAI, raising billions and posing as an alternative to OpenAI.

OpenAI argued that Mr Musk’s lawsuit was an attempt to advance his own interests in AI.

It accused Mr Musk of attempting to use fact-finding and information-sharing in the legal case to access OpenAI’s “proprietary records and technology”.

The founding agreement cited by the Tesla boss was “a fiction Musk has conjured to lay unearned claim to the fruits of an enterprise he initially supported, then abandoned, then watched succeed without him”, the firm said.

“Seeing the remarkable technological advances OpenAI has achieved, Musk now wants that success for himself,” OpenAI’s attorneys claimed.

Mr Musk said in April that OpenAI was trying to “advance arguments based on disputed facts” beyond the lawsuit’s scope.

On Monday, the multibillionaire said he would ban Apple devices at his companies if the iPhone maker went ahead with plans to use OpenAI technology in its phones.

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