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Back in 2018, Musk proposed to take control of OpenAI

In the early months of 2018, Elon Musk told Sam Altman, another OpenAI founder, that he would take control of OpenAI and run it himself as he believed the venture had ‘fallen fatally behind Google’, news website Semafor said, citing people familiar with the matter.

Altman and OpenAI’s other founders rejected Musk’s proposal to run the company. Musk walked away from the company post that incident — and reneged on a massive planned donation on February 20, 2018.

OpenAI launched as a nonprofit in 2015, garnering the interest of the bigwigs of the tech-industry such as Elon Musk and Reid Hoffman, who had as a group pledged USD 1 billion.

Open AI CEO Sam Altman, added president to his title in 2018, in addition to being a director post Musk’s exit from the startup, the news website said citing Open AI’s tax documents.

While the fallout within OpenAI remained private, Musk and OpenAI publicly said his reason for stepping down from OpenAI’s board of directors was a ‘conflict of interest’.

The conflict of interest lay in the fact that Tesla was developing its own artificial intelligence for autonomous driving and would be competing for talent with OpenAI. The conflict of interest did exist in the form of Tesla poaching OpenAI’s , Andrej Karpathy, who became the architect of Tesla’s autonomous driving program.

Also Read: AI News roundup: OpenAI adds plugin support to ChatGPT, Mozilla opens new AI startup and more

Musk had also promised to donate roughly USD 1 billion over a period of years (he had already contributed $100 million), however the payments stopped after his exit from the board, people familiar with the matter said.

Amid a funding crunch, OpenAI announced it was creating a for profit entity on On March 11, 2019. The artificial intelligence research company cited the fact that it needed to raise money to pay for the power necessary to pursue its AI models.

“We want to increase our ability to raise capital while still serving our mission, and no pre-existing legal structure we know of strikes the right balance,” the company said in 2019.

OpenAI also said it was capping profits for investors, with any excess going to the original nonprofit.

Altman also said he would take no equity in the new for-profit entity, people familiar with the matter said.

Later in 2019 OpenAI took USD 1 billion from Microsoft, .together they built a supercomputer to train massive models which eventually created ChatGPT and the image generator DALL-E.

In the month of December in 2022, a month after the launch of ChatGPT, Musk pulled OpenAI’s access to the Twitter “fire hose” of data — a contract that was signed before Musk acquired Twitter.

On February 17 , Musk tweeted, “OpenAI was created as an open source (which is why I named it “Open” AI), non-profit company to serve as a counterweight to Google, but now it has become a closed source, maximum-profit company effectively controlled by Microsoft.”

On March 15 he questioned the legality of OpenAI’s move to opt for the for-profit route, “I’m still confused as to how a non-profit to which I donated ~$100M somehow became a $30B market cap for-profit. If this is legal, why doesn’t everyone do it?”

Both OpenAI and Musk declined Semafor’s request for a comment. However on March 24, Musk tweeted “I’m sure it will be fine” and posted a meme of Elmo with the words: “Me realizing AI, the most powerful tool that mankind has ever created, is now in the hands of a ruthless corporate monopoly.” Moneycontrol

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