I Am the Reason OpenAI Exists: Elon Musk

Paigambar Mohan Raj
Source: Benzinga

Tesla CEO and Twitter owner Elon Musk spoke to CNBC on May 16 and said that OpenAI would not have existed without him. Musk also pointed out that he came up with the name “OpenAI,” where “open” meant open source. However, one of the main concerns for Musk is the legality of OpenAI becoming a for-profit organization rather than a non-profit. Musk invested $50 million into the artificial intelligence (AI) firm in 2015.

According to OpenAI, the firm was a non-profit so it was not restricted by financial returns. The company wanted to focus on developing digital intelligence in a way that will most likely help humanity. However, in 2019, the company created OpenAI L, which is a “hybrid of a for-profit and nonprofit.”

Is Elon Musk right about OpenAI’s legality?

Musk compared OpenAI’s transition to a for-profit, to that of a “save the Amazon” organization becoming a “lumber company.” Furthermore, the billionaire stated that “That doesn’t seem legal.” He questioned if a non-profit company could take the IP and become a for-profit organization and make “tons of money.”

The legality of the OpenAI’s move is still unclear. CEO Sam Altman was recently questioned by Congress if he made a lot of money in OpenAI. Altman said that he has no equity in OpenAI and does not make a lot of money. He further stated that he does it because he loves it.

While speaking with CNBC, Musk also spoke about his discussions with Google co-founder Larry Page. Musk said that Page did not seem concerned about AI safety, even though Google controlled two-thirds of the talent in the industry. Musk wanted to create something that was the opposite of Google, i.e. opposite of closed-source for-profit.

The Tesla CEO has been very vocal about the dangers of AI. Not only that, former Google employee, Dr. Geoffrey Hinton who is called the “godfather of AI,” has also spoken out against the technology. Hinton said that people would “no longer be able to know what is true.”