Elon Musk’s tiff with OpenAI shows he’s both right and wrong about AI: Morning Brief – Yahoo Finance

author
2 minutes, 52 seconds Read

This is The Takeaway from today’s Morning Brief, which you can sign up to receive in your inbox every morning along with:

Less than a week after Tesla CEO Elon Musk sued OpenAI alleging the influential AI startup abandoned its original mission of working for the public good, the company struck back.

But by attempting to prove Musk was along for the ride, OpenAI sullied itself.

And it echoes the darker aspects of Big Tech’s legacy: grand pronouncements — building community, making information free — that mask profit motives and justify social harms.

Musk argued that OpenAI breached its founding ethos of sharing its tech breakthroughs with the public by becoming a closed-source ally with Microsoft. In shared emails, OpenAI’s leaders suggested that, as their technology advances, scientific details should be kept from full public view to guard against bad actors.

OpenAI published a blog post earlier this week that revealed a Musk-backed plan to turn the organization into a for-profit entity as early as 2017. The maker of ChatGPT also contends Musk vied for total control over the transformed company.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 2: Tesla and SpaceX's CEO Elon Musk reacts during an in-conversation event with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at Lancaster House on November 2, 2023 in London, England. Sunak discussed AI with Elon Musk in a conversation that is played on the social network X, which Musk owns.(Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth - WPA Pool/Getty Images)LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 2: Tesla and SpaceX's CEO Elon Musk reacts during an in-conversation event with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at Lancaster House on November 2, 2023 in London, England. Sunak discussed AI with Elon Musk in a conversation that is played on the social network X, which Musk owns.(Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Tesla and SpaceX’s CEO Elon Musk reacts during an event with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at Lancaster House on Nov. 2, 2023, in London, England. (Kirsty Wigglesworth – WPA Pool/Getty Images) (WPA Pool via Getty Images)

In the unflattering portrait OpenAI presents, Musk comes off as a bitter ex and a hypocrite. And though the re-heated memes Musk has been sharing and responding to on X about OpenAI needing to change its name are embarrassing cringe content, they also offer a straightforward critique of the company.

Because the same evidence OpenAI marshals against Musk undermines the startup’s own narrative about democratizing the power of advanced AI tools.

“As we get closer to building AI, it will make sense to start being less open,” wrote OpenAI co-founder Ilya Sutskever in a 2016 email. “The Open in openAI means that everyone should benefit from the fruits of AI after its built, but it’s totally OK to not share the science …”

Musk pushed for majority equity, initial board control, and for the CEO role, OpenAI said. When that didn’t pan out, Musk suggested merging OpenAI with Tesla.

And when yet another domineering offer didn’t succeed, Musk left, wishing OpenAI well but thinking that he could build an AI shop himself. A power struggle that might seem familiar to Tesla’s board and shareholders.

Musk, of course, does stand to gain from OpenAI’s downfall. His AI startup, xAI, is behind the chatbot Grok, a rival to ChatGPT, and he’s working to develop Tesla into an AI juggernaut.

But disinterested bystanders shouldn’t be the only ones to poke holes in the tech world’s latest tale of progress. It took years for the corrosive effects of pervasive data harvesting and black box algorithms to surface into a techlash; opposition to OpenAI’s tools, even in this early stage, is already here.

And that’s part of what makes the straight-faced mission statement about benefiting humanity and “helping create broadly distributed benefits” hard to take seriously.

A decade ago, tech’s big social aims held sway. But in 2024 you don’t need a trove of emails to learn that story isn’t real — the public didn’t believe it anyway.

Hamza Shaban is a reporter for Yahoo Finance covering markets and the economy. Follow Hamza on Twitter @hshaban.

Click here for the latest technology news that will impact the stock market.

Read the latest financial and business news from Yahoo Finance

This post was originally published on this site

Similar Posts