Elon Musk filed suit against OpenAI and Chief Executive Officer Sam Altman, alleging they have breached the artificial-intelligence startup’s founding agreement by putting profit ahead of benefiting humanity.

The 52-year-old billionaire, who helped fund OpenAI in its early days, said the company’s close relationship with Microsoft Corp. has undermined its original mission of creating open-source technology that wouldn’t be subject to corporate priorities. Musk, who is also CEO of Tesla Inc., has been among the most outspoken about the dangers of AI and artificial general intelligence, or AGI.

“To this day, OpenAI Inc.’s website continues to profess that its charter is to ensure that AGI “benefits all of humanity.” In reality, however, OpenAI Inc. has been transformed into a closed-source de facto subsidiary of the largest technology company in the world: Microsoft,” the lawsuit said.

In the filing in San Francisco, Musk took aim at the restructuring of OpenAI’s leadership last year, a tumultuous period during which Altman was ousted as CEO and then quickly reinstated with support from Microsoft. Musk argued in the suit that Altman, OpenAI President Greg Brockman and Microsoft worked together to oust the majority of the startup’s board, who had been responsible for enforcing its original mission of developing technology for the benefit of humanity.

“Mr. Altman hand-picked a new Board that lacks similar technical expertise or any substantial background in AI governance, which the previous board had by design,” the lawsuit said. “The new Board consisted of members with more experience in profit-centric enterprises or politics than in AI ethics and governance. They were also reportedly ‘big fans of Altman.’”

The case marks an escalation in the one of the highest-profile clashes in the emerging field of AI, pitting two of its most prominent proponents against each other. The lawsuit will have implications not just for OpenAI, which is seeking to raise funds at a valuation of $100 billion or more, but also from Microsoft. Its shares have over the past year as enterprises seek to capitalize on the potential of AI services.

“With this restructuring, OpenAI Inc. abandoned its non-profit mission of developing AGI for the benefit of humanity broadly, thereby keeping it out of the hands of a large for-profit corporation in which vast power would be unduly concentrated,” the lawsuit said.

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