Elon Musk’s Failed Attempt to Take Over OpenAI in 2018

Written by The Anand Market

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Elon Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur known for his ventures in electric cars and space travel, reportedly tried to take control of OpenAI in 2018, but failed. OpenAI is a research company focused on developing artificial intelligence (AI) in a safe and beneficial way.

Musk co-founded OpenAI in 2015 with Sam Altman and a few other founders. However, in 2018, Musk reportedly tried to take control of the startup. The move was unsuccessful, and Musk subsequently resigned from OpenAI’s board, citing a conflict of interest with his work at Tesla. Specifically, Musk referred to the developments in AI being carried out in Tesla’s autonomous driving project.

According to a report from the news website Semafor, Musk also reneged on a promised donation of $1 billion, contributing only $100 million before walking away. This left OpenAI with little funding and no ability to pay for the astronomical fees associated with training AI models on supercomputers. As a result, OpenAI became a for-profit firm in 2019.

Less than six months after becoming a for-profit entity, Microsoft infused $1 billion in OpenAI, propelling the company to build a supercomputer to train massive models that eventually created ChatGPT and the image generator DALL-E. The latest language model launched recently, GPT-4, has 1 trillion parameters.

However, Musk has raised questions over how a non-profit organization became a $30 billion maximum-profit company for Microsoft. Musk has repeatedly criticized the company for installing safeguards that prevent ChatGPT from producing text that might offend users.

“ChatGPT is entirely housed within Microsoft Azure. When push comes to shove, they have everything, including the model weights,” Musk added.

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monitor screen with openai logo on black background
Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com

OpenAI has developed several AI models, including ChatGPT, which is a conversational AI tool. The tool has been used by companies such as Reddit and the New York Times to generate content. However, some have expressed concerns about the accuracy of the tool and its potential to produce offensive or harmful content.

In response to these concerns, OpenAI has installed safeguards to prevent ChatGPT from generating harmful or offensive content. These safeguards have been criticized by Musk, who has argued that they limit the tool’s potential.

Despite Musk’s criticism, OpenAI has continued to develop its AI models and expand its operations. The company recently announced that it had raised $100 million in a funding round led by Greg Brockman, OpenAI’s CEO. The funding will be used to further develop the company’s AI models and expand its operations.

OpenAI has also announced plans to create a new research laboratory focused on developing artificial intelligence that is safe, reliable, and beneficial to society. The lab will be located in San Francisco and will be led by Sam Altman, one of OpenAI’s co-founders.

The announcement of the new research lab comes as interest in AI continues to grow. Many companies and organizations are investing in AI research and development, hoping to harness its potential to revolutionize industries such as healthcare, finance, and transportation.

Countering OpenAI

According to a report by The Information, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is reportedly in the process of forming a new artificial intelligence (AI) lab to develop a new kind of chatbot. The lab aims to create a more advanced chatbot compared to OpenAI’s GPT models, which are currently the leading models in the industry.

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Musk has reportedly approached several AI researchers to join his new lab, including Igor Babuschkin, who recently left Alphabet’s DeepMind. Babuschkin is a specialist in machine-learning models that power chatbots like OpenAI’s GPT. However, Babuschkin has not confirmed whether he will be joining Musk’s initiative.

According to the report, Musk is seeking to create a chatbot that is more advanced than OpenAI’s GPT models. The Tesla CEO has been critical of the GPT models in the past, citing concerns about the potential misuse of AI language models. Musk has previously called for more regulation of the technology to prevent its misuse.

Babuschkin expressed his interest in working with Musk on a project related to large language models (LLMs), which are used to generate text. LLMs, including GPT models, are currently being used in various industries, including finance, healthcare, and gaming.

The development of a new chatbot could have significant implications for the tech industry, as chatbots become increasingly popular in various industries, including e-commerce, customer service, and digital marketing. Chatbots are AI-powered programs that can communicate with users in natural language and are designed to provide quick and efficient responses to queries.

If Musk’s new AI lab succeeds in creating a more advanced chatbot, it could have a significant impact on OpenAI, which has been a leader in the development of AI language models. OpenAI’s GPT models have been used in various applications, including chatbots, language translation, and content creation.

However, OpenAI has faced criticism over the potential misuse of its language models, including concerns over the spread of misinformation and the creation of deepfakes. In response to these concerns, OpenAI has introduced various safeguards to prevent the misuse of its models.

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In recent years, Musk has been involved in various AI initiatives, including the formation of OpenAI, which he left due to concerns over a conflict of interest with his work at Tesla. Musk has also been critical of AI language models like GPT, calling for more regulation to prevent their misuse.

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