Elon Musk Reveals OpenAI Aggressively Poaching Tesla Engineers With 'Massive Compensation' Offers: 'Talent War For AI Is The Craziest...'

On Tuesday, a report about Tesla Inc. TSLA machine learning scientist Ethan Knight becoming the third engineer to leave the EV giant and join xAI surfaced. This came hours after Elon Musk revealed that ChatGPT-parent OpenAI is poaching many Tesla engineers. 

What Happened: Last year, Musk launched his latest venture, xAI, which seeks to "understand the true nature of the universe." Since then, he has been battling with several major tech players and a few startups for AI talent.

According to the report by The Information, the tech billionaire has managed to keep some promising Tesla engineers from leaving by moving them to xAI, with Knight being the third on this list. 

The tech mogul has now responded to the report, saying Knight would join OpenAI, the company Musk co-founded in 2015 and left in 2018. "So it was either xAI or them."

He explained that the Sam Altman-led company has been "aggressively recruiting Tesla engineers with massive compensation offers," revealing that the ChatGPT parent has been successful in some cases. 

See Also: Elon Musk Reacts To Dramatic Drop In Prices Of Older AI Models, Draws Parallels To Google Search, Bing, Coke And Pepsi

The Tesla CEO also said that while Knight is "very talented," naming him "vision chief" is not accurate. "There are over 200 excellent engineers in the Tesla AI/Autonomy team. Tesla's pace of progress with autonomy is accelerating." 

He then said that the "talent war for AI is the craziest talent war I've ever seen." 

When a user on X, formerly Twitter, asked Musk if xAI has been matching those massive "compensation offers," the billionaire replied, "Tesla is increasing the compensation (contingent on progress milestones) of our AI engineering team."

Why It's Important: Musk's statement about OpenAI poaching Tesla engineers comes in the wake of a legal battle between the tech mogul and ChatGPT-maker. Last month, Musk sued OpenAI and Altman alleging a breach of the company’s founding agreement. 

OpenAI executives later responded by suggesting that Musk’s claims were rooted in his regret over not being part of the company’s current success. “We believe the claims in this suit may stem from Elon’s regrets about not being involved with the company today,” wrote OpenAI chief strategy officer Jason Kwon in an internal memo. 

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