“OpenAI was going to…”: CEO Sam Altman on why Elon Musk left the company


There seems to be no love lost between Elon Musk and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. The billionaire filed a lawsuit against ChatGPT maker earlier this month, alleging that the company has deviated from its original mission to develop AI tools for humanity’s benefit and is now a for-profit company. OpenAI responded by saying Musk had similar plans and in a recent interview, Altman said that Musk thought that OpenAI would fail.

“Elon chose to part ways,” Altman said in an interview with podcaster Lex Fridman.

“He thought OpenAI was going to fail. He wanted total control to turn it around. We wanted to keep going in the direction that now has become OpenAI. He also wanted Tesla to be able to build an AGI effort. At various times, he wanted to make OpenAI into a for-profit company that he could have control of or have it merge with Tesla. We didn’t want to do that, and he decided to leave, which that’s fine,” Altman added.

OpenAI is doing ‘public good’
Altman suggested that the company is still rooted to its initial cause as it is putting powerful technology in the hands of people for free, as a public good.

“…as a public good. We don’t run ads on our free version. We don’t monetise it in other ways. We just say it’s part of our mission. We want to put increasingly powerful tools in the hands of people for free and get them to use them. I think that kind of [openness] is really important to our mission,” said.

Altman said that Elon is “one of the great builders of our time.” but it makes him “extra sad he’s doing it toss.”

“It makes me sad. And I think it makes a lot of people sad. There’s a lot of people who’ve really looked up to him for a long time,” he added.

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