April 13, 2024

illustration of xAI app displayed on a phone in front of a photo of Musk

Illustration: Angga Budhiyanto (Shutterstock)

After suing his former company OpenAI, Elon Musk said Monday that his new AI company xAI will open-source its ChatGPT rival Grok this week. Musk made the announcement in a brief one-sentence post on social media. “This week @xAI will open source Grok,” Musk wrote on X.

Musk’s lawsuit against OpenAI and its CEO Sam Altman alleges that the ChatGPT maker’s multi-year, multi-billion dollar partnership with Microsoft betrays its founding commitment to benefiting humanity over profit. The lawsuit filed last month claims a breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and unfair business practices. The billionaire also asked that OpenAI be ordered to open its research and technology to the public.

“OpenAI, Inc. has been transformed into a closed-source de facto subsidiary of the largest technology company in the world: Microsoft,” the Tesla CEO’s lawsuit says. “Under its new board, it is not just developing but is actually refining an [artificial general intelligence] to maximize profits for Microsoft, rather than for the benefit of humanity.”

Last July, Musk announced his own AI company, xAI. And in November, he said on X that it would release its first AI product “to a select group.” While xAI is independent from X, the Musk-owned social media site formerly known as Twitter, the company’s website says it will work closely with X and Musk’s EV maker Tesla.

OpenAI, which Musk co-founded with Altman in 2015 before leaving, responded to Musk’s lawsuit last week with a blog post that included screenshots of emails from Musk during his time at the company. They showed he supported making OpenAI a for-profit company and pushed for it to merge with Tesla to compete with Google’s AI efforts. OpenAI said in its response that Musk wanted to start with a $1 billion funding commitment “to avoid sounding hopeless,” after Altman and their other co-founder Greg Brockman initially planned to raise $100 million.

“Elon left OpenAI, saying there needed to be a relevant competitor to Google/DeepMind and that he was going to do it himself,” OpenAI said in the blog post. “He said he’d be supportive of us finding our own path.”

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