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Elon Musk Sues OpenAI and Sam Altman for Violating the Company’s Principles

OpenAI, the influential artificial intelligence company that ousted and then reinstated its high-profile chief executive three months ago, faces a new drama: a lawsuit from Elon Musk, one of the richest men in the world and a co-founder of the A.I. lab.

Mr. Musk sued OpenAI and its chief executive, Sam Altman, accusing them of breaching a contract by putting profits and commercial interests in developing artificial intelligence ahead of the public good. A multibillion-dollar partnership that OpenAI developed with Microsoft, Mr. Musk said, represented an abandonment of a founding pledge to carefully develop A.I. and make the technology publicly available.

“OpenAI has been transformed into a closed-source de facto subsidiary of the largest technology company, Microsoft,” said the lawsuit filed Thursday in Superior Court in San Francisco.

The 35-page lawsuit is the latest chapter in a fight between the former business partners that has been simmering for years, and it homes in on unresolved questions in the A.I. community: Will artificial intelligence improve the world or destroy it and should it be tightly controlled or set free?


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