Elon Musk vs Sam Altman: No Clear Winner Yet
Musk argues OpenAI's commercialization is illegal, sparking Altman to release a new, open-source AI model.
Elon Musk: OpenAI’s closed-source model may bring about global subjugation
At Tesla's annual shareholder's meeting in May, Elon Musk shared some provocative insights during an interview with a CNBC reporter. Among various topics, Musk gave his personal account of the genesis of OpenAI and challenged the current company proprietors and fellow AI industry players with some uncomfortable queries.
Musk, in particular, emphasized that his involvement in the early stages of GPT's development was more than substantial. He is convinced that his contributions were key to the very existence of OpenAI. He took a gamble by initially injecting around $50 million into the venture, a move that resulted in no control over the project.
I fully admit to being a huge idiot here,Musk confesses ruefully.
In addition to his financial contribution, Musk also bestowed the project with its name. The inclusion of the word "open" was deliberate, as OpenAI was designed to serve as a foil to Google, a commercial entity with proprietary code. The non-profit model Musk envisioned was intended to eschew profit pursuit and work for the broader benefit of humanity.
Elon Musk was notably candid during the Tesla shareholders' meeting. Source: Youtube.
Musk discloses that he was once a close friend of Larry Page, Google's co-founder. They spent many hours together, musing about the future of artificial intelligence. According to Musk, Page seemed entirely unconcerned about AI-associated risks. Yet in 2014, Google bought the London-based startup DeepMind for half a billion dollars, thereby monopolizing 75% of the world's AI talent. It was a unilateral AI world under Page's control, with seemingly no regard for the safety implications of this emerging technology.
The final straw was Larry calling me a speciesist for being pro-human Consciousness instead of machine Consciousness and yes I guess I am a speciesist,Musk reminisces.
Musk still stands firm on his belief that commercialization in the AI field could potentially be dangerous. He's deeply disheartened by OpenAI's transition into a profit-making entity. How did something that began as a nonprofit project with open-source code become a business running on a closed source? Musk offers a tongue-in-cheek analogy for this transformation: it's as if someone established an organization to protect the Amazon rainforest, only to then convert it into a logging and timber-selling operation.
Wait a second that's the exact opposite of what I gave the money for. Is that legal? That doesn't seem legal,Musk objects.
The open source concept was supposed to prevent the consolidation of power that AI can offer, all in one place. Musk hints that Microsoft, thanks to its multi-billion-dollar investments, now controls the world through OpenAI.
OpenAI releases a new, open-source AI model
On the other hand, OpenAI is preparing to alleviate Elon's concerns. Yet, this appears to be less about mitigating reputation risks and more about retaining leadership in a rapidly evolving competitive landscape.
There are whispers in the industry suggesting OpenAI is gearing up to release an open-source AI model. This move compels Sam Altman and Bill Gates to respond to the emergence of rivals and new open-source AI models. The spotlight falls on LLaMa, a substantial language model launched by Meta in February 2023. Others worth noting are Stability AI and Dolly 2.0 AI from Databricks. They are advancing swiftly, offering stellar performance, broad customization options, enhanced privacy, and other beneficial features that appeal to users.
However, this free novelty could potentially threaten the position of their flagship product, ChatGPT. OpenAI currently earns revenue by selling access to it. Today, the company's worth is estimated between $27-29 billion, largely anchored on the revenue generated from providing paid access to ChatGPT. Hence, Sam Altman faces a significant challenge to stave off competition between their own products. Otherwise, sustaining OpenAI's present lofty valuation could prove a tough task.
Gagarin News has previously reported on Bill Gates' opinion that a sophisticated AI might eventually form its own goals, ones that could contradict humanity's objectives.