Elon Musk Drops Lawsuit against OpenAI CEO Sam Altman

UTC by Mayowa Adebajo · 3 min read
Elon Musk Drops Lawsuit against OpenAI CEO Sam Altman
Photo: World Economic Forum / Flickr

The decision came barely a day before a federal judge was to decide whether to throw out the case or allow it to proceed to the next stage.

In a surprising move that signals that their AI feud might be over, Elon Musk has asked to withdraw his lawsuit against OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and the company. According to a court filing dated June 11, Musk’s lawyers are requesting that the San Francisco Superior Court dismiss the case without prejudice.

For clarity, the case may have been dropped now. However, the “without prejudice” clause leaves an opening for Musk to file again anytime in the future.

Elon Musk had originally alleged that the operations of the artificial intelligence firm no longer sought to serve humanity as its original mission stated. Rather, the company had deviated into seeking profit by all means necessary, even if it meant hurting the very people it set out to serve, Musk suggested.

Interestingly, the billionaire has now called off the suit as he appears to have dodged a dogfight with OpenAI. However, what may be even more interesting is that the decision came barely a day before a federal judge was to decide whether to throw out the case or allow it to proceed to the next stage, earlier court filings show.

As of publication, Musk was yet to issue a statement on his turnaround decision to drop the lawsuit.

Elon Musk May Still Have Scores to Settle with OpenAI and Altman

Notably, the lawsuit being dropped was specifically related to disagreements over OpenAI’s direction as a company. On February 29, 2024, Musk sued OpenAI and Altman for straying from their initial mission of open-source AI development for the “benefit of humanity.” He also criticized their for-profit ventures with Microsoft and its closed-source approach to ChatGPT-4.

However, with the recent turn of events, it might be safe to say that tensions are easing between the parties. Or maybe not.

Meanwhile, the billionaire is currently having another issue with OpenAI. The company recently partnered with Apple, a move that appears to have rekindled all tensions. Musk views integrating ChatGPT into iPhone, iPad, and Mac operating systems as an “unacceptable security violation”. He expresses concern about Apple entrusting user privacy and security to a third party like OpenAI.

Apple, however, maintains that user privacy remains a top priority. The company assures users that their IP addresses won’t be revealed to OpenAI. Additionally, Apple claims that ChatGPT won’t store data requests, creating a situation where, as Apple puts it, the AI is “aware of your personal data without collecting your personal data” – a concept they call the “Apple Intelligence privacy promise.”

The Competition Heats Up as Grok Enters the Mix

Notably, all of this disagreement comes amidst a growing rivalry in the large language model space. Last November, Musk co-founded xAI, a company developing an AI chatbot named Grok, a competitor to ChatGPT. xAI recently secured a significant $6 billion funding boost from prominent investors, signalling their commitment to challenging OpenAI’s dominance.

From all indications, tensions between Musk and OpenAI may continue for longer. That is, as the competition for AI supremacy intensifies. More aptly, the future of large language models will likely be formed around battles bordering on innovation and privacy concerns.

Artificial Intelligence, News, Technology News
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