Leaked Musk Emails Say He Wanted “Full Control” Of OpenAI

The lawsuit continues as Elon Musk’s leaked emails are exposed with OpenAI. These emails show where Musk initially supported OpenAI’s transition to a “for-profit” model. This is following his contradicting statements earlier this week where he claimed and expressed his displeasure with the fact that OpenAI places profit over humanity.

In one email, OpenAI founders disclosed, “Elon wanted majority equity, initial board control, and to be CEO.” This revelation puts Musk’s recent lawsuit against OpenAI into question, as he alleges the company moved from its mission for humanity by aligning closely with Microsoft.


How Did Musk’s Vision Differ?


According to OpenAI’s blog, there was a point when Musk was interested in merging the non-profit with Tesla and sought majority equity and CEO position. Despite his contributions, disagreements led Musk to depart in 2018, focusing instead on developing his AI project, XAI.

The heart of the issue lies in Musk’s changing stance regarding OpenAI’s operational model. Initially an advocate for the non-profit’s ethos, Musk’s own words, as per the leaked emails, say something else:

“As we get closer to building AI, it will make sense to start being less open,” Musk agreed in a correspondence with OpenAI’s Ilya Sutskever, signaling a departure from the open-source ideals he now claims to defend.



What Exactly Were Musk’s Recent Statements?


In the recent claim he put forward, Musk had said, “OpenAI, Inc. has been transformed into a closed-source de facto subsidiary of the largest technology company in the world: Microsoft.”

“Under its new board, it is not just developing but is actually refining an AGI to maximise profits for Microsoft, rather than for the benefit of humanity.”


Open Source vs Closed Source AI: What’s the Difference and Why Does It Matter?


The distinction between open source and closed source AI has quickly become a central topic in the lawsuit between Elon Musk and OpenAI. Open source software is available for anyone to use, modify, and distribute.

Initially, OpenAI worked with this model to ensure its AI advancements benefited humanity at large. But then, due to the substantial costs associated with developing AI, OpenAI transitioned to a closed source model – the move that was recently criticised by Musk, yet the leaked emails suggest otherwise, invalidating his current allegations.

Musk’s change in stance from supporting a closed source approach when he was directly involved to criticising it after his departure raises questions about the consistency and motivations behind his arguments.


OpenAI: ‘Elon Wanted to Be CEO’


According to the OpenAI blog, Musk wanted “majority equity, initial board control, and to be CEO,” indicating ambitions that extend beyond mere advocacy for open source principles.

These revelations challenge the basis of Musk’s lawsuit and introduce doubts about his motivations, particularly in the context of his subsequent efforts to establish a competing AI project, XAI, after leaving OpenAI.