Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, attends the 54th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on January 18, 2024.

Denis Balibus | Reuters

Elon Musk is judging Microsoft– backed OpenAI and its CEO Sam Altman, among others, claiming they had abandoned the company’s core mission of developing artificial intelligence “for the benefit of humanity as a whole.”

IN court trial filed Thursday in a San Francisco court, Musk’s lawyers said the tech billionaire was approached in 2015 by Altman and OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman and agreed to create a nonprofit lab to develop artificial general intelligence for “the good of mankind.”

A co-founder of OpenAI in 2015, Musk stepped down from the firm’s board in 2018, four years after saying AI was “potentially more dangerous than nuclear weapons.”

“To this day, OpenAI, Inc.’s website continues to profess that its charter is to ensure that AGI benefits all of humanity.” In reality, however, OpenAI, Inc. has been transformed into a de facto closed-source subsidiary of the world’s largest technology company: Microsoft,” the lawsuit filing said.

Musk’s lawyers said in the lawsuit that OpenAI’s focus on maximizing profits for Microsoft violates that agreement.

“Under its new board, it is not just developing, but actually refining, AGI to maximize profits for Microsoft, not for the benefit of humanity,” the filing says.

OpenAI and Microsoft were not immediately available for comment.

Musk’s lawyers said the suit was filed “to force OpenAI to abide by its founding agreement and return to its mission of developing AGI for the benefit of humanity, not to personally benefit the individual defendants and the largest technology company in the world”.

Elon Musk, owner of Tesla and the X platform (formerly Twitter), attends an anti-Semitism symposium titled “Never Again: Talking Words or Deep Conversation” in Krakow, Poland on January 22, 2024.

Beata Zavrtzel | Nurphoto | Getty Images

The lawsuit pits two of the world’s most prominent technology leaders against each other at a time of extraordinary hype over the future of AI.

Since its debut in November 2022, OpenAI’s chatbot, ChatGPT, has taken the world by storm. The AI ​​tool quickly became the fastest-growing consumer app in history and spurred the launch of rival chatbots from companies like parent Google Alphabet and Microsoft.

Both Musk and Altman are making headlines. Musk, considered the world’s richest man, runs an electric vehicle maker Teslarocket and satellite maker SpaceX, and bought X for $44 billion in October 2022. He recently announced progress on brain chip implant technology made by his startup Neuralink.

Meanwhile, Altman had a rocky relationship with OpenAI. He was suddenly fired from the company last November, in a move that sent shock waves through the tech industry. The American entrepreneur – one of the leading figures in the AI ​​boom – returned to the firm a few days later.