Elon Musk sues OpenAI, Sam Altman for breaching contract

Elon Musk's lawyers also mention that OpenAI has kept the design of GPT-4 a secret
An undated image of Tesla CEO Elon Musk (L) andOpenAI CEO Sam Altman. — Vanity Fair
An undated image of Tesla CEO Elon Musk (L) andOpenAI CEO Sam Altman. — Vanity Fair

Tesla CEO Elon Musk late on Thursday sued ChatGPT-maker OpenAI and its chief executive officer Sam Altman, and others for violating claims regarding developing artificial intelligence (AI) for the benefit of humanity and not profit.

The lawyers, in the lawsuit filed in San Francisco, claimed that Altman and OpenAI’s co-founder Greg Brockman contacted Musk to make an open-source, non-profit; however, the company focused on making money.

Musk, along with charging OpenAI for keeping the design of GPT-4 a "complete secret", accused the Microsoft-backed company of breaching the contract.

Read more: OpenAI launches GPT Store — Marketplace for custom AI tools

It should be noted that Musk co-founded OpenAI in 2015 but stepped down from its board in 2018. He also runs electric vehicle maker Tesla and rocket maker SpaceX and bought X (formerly Twitter) for $44 billion in October 2022.

Last year serial entrepreneur Altman was fired by OpenAI's former board which said it was trying to defend the company's mission to develop AI that benefits humanity. A few days later, Altman returned to the company with a new initial board.

OpenAI is planning to appoint several new board members in March, the Washington Post reported on Thursday.

ChatGPT, the chatbot from OpenAI, became the fastest-growing software application in the world within six months of its launch in November 2022. It also sparked the launch of rival chatbots from Microsoft, Alphabet and a bevvy of startups that tapped the hype to secure billions in funding.

Since its debut, ChatGPT has been adopted by companies for a wide range of tasks from summarising documents to writing computer code, setting off a race amongst Big Tech companies to launch their offerings based on generative AI.

— Additional input from Reuters