OpenAI: from non-profit to for-profit, a transition criticized by Elon Musk

OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, was a non-profit entity until 2019. The company had favored this status in order to have some freedom to achieve its goal. Then it became a for-profit entity. On May 16, Elon Musk, who has invested around $50 million in the company, spoke about this transition. The Tesla boss has raised concerns about OpenAI’s transition. This was during an interview with CNBC at the Tesla Group’s annual shareholders meeting.

OpenAI would have become illegal by turning into a for-profit organization

OpenAI has been talked about a lot since the launch of ChatGPT. The latter is also considered a tool that can simplify the adoption of cryptos for investors. That said, Elon Musk is critical of OpenAI’s shift from a non-profit to a for-profit organization. He wonders if the fact that the company has become a for-profit business is legal. According to him, OpenAI is currently similar to an organization aiming to “ save the amazon “, but which exploits and sells trees from the tropical forest.

Is it legal? It doesn’t seem legal. In general, if it’s legal to start a non-profit company, then take the IP and transfer it to a for-profit company that then makes tons of money […]shouldn’t that be the default? », added the billionaire.

In addition, Elon Musk stressed that he had ” invented the name OpenAI with the intention of making the company an open source alternative to DeepMind. The idea came to him after Google bought the latter in 2014.

OpenAI would have started as a non-profit company to avoid being ” constrained by a need to generate a financial return “. He wanted to stay focused on his main objective. The latter was to advance ” digital intelligence in the way most likely to benefit humanity as a whole “. However, in 2019, OpenAI announced its transition, which allowed it to attract more capital. By becoming a for-profit business, it managed to grow faster. Also, OpenAI continued to expand despite the ChatGPT controversy this year.

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