OpenAI says Elon Musk’s lawsuit allegations are ‘incoherent’

“There is no Founding Agreement, or any agreement at all with Musk,” OpenAI said in a court filing as a defendant in Elon Musk’s lawsuit. We’re, of course, talking about the lawsuit Musk filed against OpenAI, which accuses it of violating its status as a non-profit, as well as of violating a founding agreement promising the organization would never operate for profit and would release its AI publicly. The company said the billionaire’s claims are based on “convoluted — often incoherent — factual premises.” It called that founding agreement “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.”

If the case goes to discovery, there’s evidence that would show that Musk supported OpenAI’s transition into a for-profit structure, “to be controlled by Musk himself,” OpenAI continued. Further, the billionaire allegedly ceased supporting the project when his ideas weren’t followed. That statement echoes the company’s blog post from earlier this month, wherein it published purported emails to and from Musk from when he was still involved with the organization. Based on those exchanges, Musk knew and was in favor of turning OpenAI into a for-profit entity. He even wanted full control of it as CEO and to have majority equity. Musk also agreed with a suggestion to attach the organization to Tesla, so that the automaker could provide its funding. In the end, the parties didn’t come to agreement, and Musk ended his involvement.

“Seeing the remarkable technological advances OpenAI has achieved, Musk now wants that success for himself,” OpenAI wrote in its filing. “Musk purports to bring this suit for humanity, when the truth — evident even from the face of Musk’s contradictory pleading — is that he brings it to advance his own commercial interests.”

Musk introduced his own artificial intelligence company called xAI last year, with the rather lofty goal of understanding “the true nature of the universe.” A few days after OpenAI published its blog post wherein it claimed that Musk knew it never intended to open source its technology, the billionaire announced that xAI was going to open source its Grok chatbot. While it could very well be a dig at OpenAI, open sourcing Grok could also get his company feedback from the developer community, which xAI could then use to improve its technology.

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Mariella Moon