Why is Elon Musk suing OpenAI?

Why is Elon Musk suing OpenAI?


On Friday, it emerged that Elon Musk had filed a lawsuit accusing OpenAI and its chief executive Sam Altman of a breach of contract.

Musk believes that OpenAI’s initial mission of building AI for the benefit of humanity had been compromised through its partnership with Microsoft.

The lawsuit said that rather than benefitting humanity, OpenAI was working on “proprietary technology to maximise the profits for literally the largest company in the world”.

“Under its new board, it is not just developing but is actually refining an AGI to maximise profits for Microsoft,” the lawsuit also alleges.

Musk has repeatedly insisted that OpenAI is not focused enough on the potential harms of AI.


OpenAI was launched in 2015, boasting support from the likes of Musk and fellow billionaire Reid Hoffman who, as a group, pledged US$1 billion to the company.

However, in early 2018, Musk told Altman that he believed OpenAI had fallen behind the likes of Google and proposed to take over the company himself.

After that proposal was declined, Musk walked away from OpenAI altogether.

He then stepped down from OpenAI’s board of directors due to what was then labelled as a conflict of interest.

Musk said that he had already donated $44 million to OpenAI and had been “induced” to make further contributions.

He has since founded his own AI company in March 2023, known as xAI and had recruited ex-Google DeepMind engineer Igor Babuschkin.

Last month, OpenAI revealed its latest platform – a text-to-video platform known as Sora. For reaction to this news, you can check out the Capacity Reacts podcast here.

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