Friday, June 21, 2024

Elon Musk abruptly withdraws lawsuit against Sam Altman and OpenAI

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Elon Musk has moved to dismiss his lawsuit accusing ChatGPT maker OpenAI and its CEO Sam Altman of abandoning the startup’s original mission of developing artificial intelligence for the benefit of humanity.

Musk launched the suit against Altman in February, and the case had been slowly working its way through the California court system. There was no indication until Tuesday that Musk planned to drop the suit; only a month ago, his lawyers filed a challenge that forced the judge hearing the case to remove himself.

Musk’s request for a dismissal contained no reason behind the decision. A San Francisco superior court judge was scheduled on Wednesday to hear Altman and OpenAI’s argument for throwing the case out.

The dismissal is an abrupt end to a legal battle between two of the tech world’s most powerful men. Musk and Altman co-founded OpenAI in 2015, but Musk left the board three years later during a struggle over control of the company and its direction. As Altman’s star has risen in recent years, the two have become increasingly hostile to each other.

Musk’s suit revolved around his claim that Altman and OpenAI breached what he referred to as the company’s “founding agreement” to work for the betterment of humanity. He alleged that OpenAI’s pivot to become a largely for-profit entity that partnered with Microsoft and did not share its technology with the public constituted a breach of that agreement.

OpenAI and Altman vehemently denied any wrongdoing, stating that there was no such “founding agreement” and releasing messages that appeared to show Musk supported becoming a for-profit company. OpenAI and Altman also posted a blog in March that essentially accused Musk of professional jealousy, saying “we’re sad that it’s come to this with someone whom we’ve deeply admired”.

Musk’s suit drew skepticism from legal experts who argued that certain claims in the filing – such as that OpenAI had created artificial intelligence on a level that could match human intelligence – did not hold up to scrutiny.

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