Right now, billionaire Elon Musk is in a legal tussle with OpenAI. He claims that OpenAI should be open-source and that it’s basically become a profit machine for Microsoft. Well, according to some emails revealed by OpenAI, it appears that Elon Musk wanted OpenAI to merge with Tesla at some point.

To catch you up

Elon Musk filed a lawsuit against OpenAI over both the companies’ partnership and the fact that OpenAI’s source code is locked behind closed doors. He also said that it’s become the de facto subsidiary of the largest tech company in the world, Microsoft. This is something that came out of left field. He wants OpenAI to make its models open-source.

It turns out that Elon Musk wanted to merge OpenAI and Tesla at some point

OpenAI has finally responded to the lawsuit with a blog post. In the post, we see a collection of emails that Elon Musk shared with the company while it was still new. Within the emails, we find out that Elon allegedly wanted to merge Tesla and OpenAI. In the emails, Elon talked about funding OpenAI’s pursuits. He said that the company would need billions of dollars a year to create AGI.

In order to properly fund it, he proposed that OpenAI merges with Tesla. In one of the emails, he said “Tesla is the only path that could even hope to hold a candle to Google. Even then, the probability of being a counterweight to Google is small. It just isn’t zero.” So, he wanted to pit OpenAI up against Google from the start.


There was also some information in the emails that contradicts what Elon is hoping to achieve with the lawsuit. In the lawsuit, Elon ragged on the fact that OpenAI could be seen as a profit machine for Microsoft. However, one email points to Elon Musk wanting OpenAI to become a for-profit company. “A for-profit pivot might create a more sustainable revenue stream over time and would, with the current team, likely bring in a lot of investment.”

As if that wasn’t enough, the emails reveal that Elon was okay with OpenAI not making its code open-source. Ilya Sutskever sent an email to Elon explaining the dangers of making the models open-source. “….by opensorucing everything, we make it easy for someone unscrupulous with access to overwhelming amount of hardware to build an unsafe AI, which will experience a hard takeoff.

As we get closer to building AI, it will make sense to start being less open. The Open in openAI means that everyone should benefit from the fruits of AI after its built, but it’s totally OK to not share the science (even though sharing everything is definitely the right strategy in the short and possibly medium term for recruitment purposes).

To this, Elon replied with “Yup.” So, it’s clear that he was all for a closed-source project from the beginning. Elon has since cut ties with the company and gone on to do other things, of course. However, it seems rather hypocritical of him to condemn the company for doing things that he was alright with back in the past. More information on this case will come out in due time, so we’ll keep you updated on future developments.

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