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OpenAI Pushes Back Against Claims in Musk Lawsuit

Did Elon Musk sue OpenAI because he regrets leaving the artificial intelligence company?

memo circulated within the firm argues as much, according to a report Friday (March 1) evening by Bloomberg News.

Musk is one of OpenAI’s co-founders, but no longer a part of the company. He sued the artificial intelligence (AI) giant last week, claiming the company’s close ties to Microsoft have caused it to lose sight of its mission of developing AI that benefits humanity as a whole.

In the memo seen by Bloomberg, OpenAI Chief Strategy Officer Jason Kwon rejected Musk’s claim that the startup is “a de facto subsidiary” of investor Microsoft and said the billionaire’s claims “may stem from Elon’s regrets about not being involved with the company today.”

In a separate memo, also seen by Bloomberg, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman called Musk a hero of his and said he misses the person he knew who competed with others by creating better tech.

Kwon’s memo argued that the company’s mission “is to ensure AGI [artificial general intelligence] benefits all humanity.” He added that OpenAI competes with Microsoft.

Seth Kugler, an attorney who focuses on corporate governance and AI, told PYMNTS in an interview last week it will be “very difficult” for Musk to prove his case that OpenAI abandoned its original mission because it licensed GPT-4 and kept elements proprietary.

“In order to prove that this is a breach, Musk must show that GPT-4 is artificial general intelligence,” Kugler said. “AGI is an artificial intelligence that can broadly perform any task as well or better than a human. Accordingly, it can teach itself to do new tasks outside of its original training — basically a full substitute for high-level human intelligence.”

Last year, Musk started putting together a team to develop an AI to compete with OpenAI’s ChatGPT. His X platform — formerly Twitter — offers its own AI chatbot called Grok.

According to the Bloomberg report, Kwon’s memo also addresses “inquiries from government agencies,” an apparent reference to a recently reported Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) probe into Altman’s firing and rehiring last year.

While Kwon didn’t mention the agency by name, he said that “after the events of last November, they asked us for information and this matches what we’d expect given the circumstances.” Kwon added that OpenAI is cooperating with the investigation.