Sam Altman Surprised by Elon Musk's Lack of Empathy Towards OpenAI's Vision

Published March 19, 2024

Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, recently expressed surprise at the response of Elon Musk, his former cofounder, to OpenAI's expansive goals. Altman remembered when Musk had similarly grand visions, like creating reusable rockets, which many at the time found laughable. As someone who pushed boundaries in the aerospace industry with SpaceX, Altman believed Musk would understand and empathize with OpenAI's bold AI dreams.

Elon Musk's Legal Dispute with OpenAI

Altman's comments came during a conversation with Lex Fridman on his podcast. The discussion touched on the legal actions taken by Musk against OpenAI. Elon Musk lodged a lawsuit alleging that OpenAI had strayed from its original nonprofit purpose by entering into a partnership with Microsoft. From Altman's perspective, this move by Musk was particularly confusing given that, prior to Musk leaving OpenAI's board in 2018, he himself had proposed converting OpenAI into a profit-seeking venture under his control.

Musk's Public Comments on the Lawsuit

Musk has made public remarks about the lawsuit, including a provocative post suggesting he would drop legal proceedings if OpenAI changed its name to 'ClosedAI.' This, Altman indicated, seemed to undermine the gravity of the lawsuit and was unexpected from someone of Musk's stature.

Others in the tech world have also voiced their concerns about Musk's actions. Vinod Khosla, an original supporter of OpenAI, labeled Musk's lawsuit as seemingly petulant and remarked that where innovation falters, litigation seems to follow. Khosla and Altman both lamented that Musk of the past would likely have joined forces with OpenAI rather than confront it legally.

Altman's Disappointment in Musk's Behavior

Altman highlighted that Musk's current stance is not only upsetting to him personally but also to those who have admired the Tesla and SpaceX CEO over the years. Concluding his thoughts, Altman reflected on the sadness of witnessing a renowned creator engaging in such conflicts instead of continuing to build groundbreaking innovations.

OpenAI, ElonMusk, Lawsuit