Elon Musk's Bid To Control OpenAI Was Met With Resistance From Co-Founders, Report Reveals

Zinger Key Points
  • OpenAI's founding team had a fallout with Elon Musk, resulting in the latter disassociating from the company, a report says.
  • Musk recently lamented the company turning into a for-profit organization and no longer continuing as an open-source company.

In Dec. 2015, OpenAI, the parent of the popular ChatGPT chatbot, was co-founded by a group of young techies, including Elon Musk. By early 2018, the Tesla TSLA CEO left the research laboratory's board, citing a conflict of interest with his electric vehicle company’s own AI pursuits.

A recent piece by Semafor, however, has revealed more to the story. 

What Happened: In early 2018, Musk told fellow co-founder and current CEO Sam Altman that OpenAI — which had been founded as an open-source nonprofit and as a counterweight to Alphabet, Inc.’s GOOGL  — had fallen way behind Google, according to Semafor's report published last Friday.

Musk then purportedly put forward a proposal to take over OpenAI and run it himself, but it was promptly turned down by Altman and the other founders. Enraged, the billionaire CEO reportedly walked away and went back on his promise to donate $1 billion over a certain period of years. By the time he left OpenAI, he had contributed about $100 million, Semafor notes. 

Musk’s departure was announced on Feb. 20, 2018 — around the same time his flagship EV venture was struggling to stay afloat amid a ramp-up of its mass-market Model 3 sedan.

Read Also: Best Artificial Intelligence Stocks

Altman Steps In: Altman, who was, at that time, president of technology startup accelerator Y Combinator, then took the reigns of OpenAI, assuming the titles of president and director, according to Semafor.

Still, the company needed funding to train AI models on supercomputers while experiencing a cash crunch, Semafor noted. As a result, it decided to pivot to transformer models and follow in the footsteps of "Google Brain." OpenAI subsequently announced the creation of a for-profit entity to allow it to raise money to pay for computing power needed to develop AI models, according to Semafor. 

Read NextElon Musk Co-Founded OpenAI, But Now He Says ChatGPT Parent 'Not What I Intended At All'

Photo: NASA HQ PHOTO via flickr

Market News and Data brought to you by Benzinga APIs
Posted In: NewsTechMediaChatGPTElon MuskOpenAiSam Altman
Benzinga simplifies the market for smarter investing

Trade confidently with insights and alerts from analyst ratings, free reports and breaking news that affects the stocks you care about.

Join Now: Free!