Elon Musk Says He's A 'Huge Idiot' For Letting ChatGPT And OpenAI Go, But Claims To Be The Brains Behind Them

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Contributor, Benzinga
June 6, 2023

Elon Musk, the renowned Tesla Inc. CEO and self-proclaimed techno-visionary, recently revealed in a candid interview his profound regret over parting ways with OpenAI, the innovative startup behind the wildly successful ChatGPT. 

Known for his audacious ventures, such as self-driving Tesla cars and the enigmatic Tesla Bot, Musk admitted to a series of blunders, including his involvement in the formation of OpenAI.

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“I fully admit to being a huge idiot here,” Musk said during an interview with CNBC when asked about his decision to not maintain a larger stake in OpenAI, despite generously investing in the company. It’s worth noting that Musk doesn’t often express regret publicly, unapologetically standing by his occasionally controversial tweets that range from amusingly derivative to potentially offensive.

OpenAI has most recently raised funds at a valuation of nearly $40 billion. Meaning the billionaire’s former stake would likely be worth a substantial sum of money. AI continues to see increased and substantial investments, especially in the startup investing space. Along with Microsoft Corp.‘s $10 billion investment in OpenAI, retail investors have even begun investing millions into AI startups like AtomBeam on platforms like StartEngine and Wefunder.

Musk was an early investor and one of the original co-chairs of OpenAI in 2015. He bid adieu to the board in 2018, only to witness ChatGPT soar to unparalleled heights of adoption, perhaps at a speed unmatched in technological history. Engrossed in his own ambitious inventions, such as self-driving cars and the half-humanoid-half-robot Tesla Bot, Musk has been known to occasionally get distracted, as exemplified by his Twitter adventures — a $44 billion gift he bestowed upon himself. 

His departure from OpenAI cost him not only a considerable amount of wealth but also an association with the hottest commodity in the tech industry. In his conversation with CNBC, Musk maintained that his role in OpenAI’s success was pivotal, asserting, “I am the reason OpenAI exists.” He proudly mentions investing around $50 million in the group and laments, with a tinge of irony, “Man, fate loves irony next level.” 

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Musk takes credit for conceptualizing the company’s name and recruiting key scientists and engineers, such as Ilya Sutskever, the co-founder and chief scientist of OpenAI.

Musk also sheds light on his falling out with Google Co-Founder Larry Page, attributing their differences to the matter of profiting from artificial intelligence — a topic close to Musk’s heart, despite the AI-like qualities of Tesla vehicles. According to Musk, he constantly warned Page about the potential dangers of AI, while Page remained alarmingly indifferent. This divergence of perspectives, coupled with Page’s accusation that Musk was a speciesist or held lesser regard for AI compared to humans, became the proverbial “last straw.” 

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