Elon Musk's $100 million lie
Musk said he once funded OpenAI $100 million, then said "about $50 million" but the actual number could be even lower.
The number of $ 100 million has been mentioned by Musk many times on social networks. On March 15, the South African-born billionaire mentioned his investment on Twitter: "I don't understand how the non-profit organization I contributed $ 100 million turned into a company with a market capitalization of $ 30 billion. If this is legal, why can't nonprofits act like public companies?".
A week later, he repeated: "I donated my first $100 million to OpenAI as a non-profit, but had no ownership or control."
However, when interviewed by CNBC on May 16, Musk suddenly said: "I'm not sure the exact number but it could be around $50 million ."
He also commented on the company behind ChatGPT: "It's strange when you invest in an open-source nonprofit and it somehow turns into a closed-source, for-profit company. This It's like you sponsor an organization to save the Amazon rainforest, but you end up giving money to a timber company to sell it for money."
Elon Musk (left) and Sam Altman (right). Illustration: Cyber News
Meanwhile, according to documents TechCrunch obtained from regulators and the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Musk did not transfer OpenAI the amount of money as he said.
In its first announcements, OpenAI announced Sam Altman, Elon Musk, Greg Brockman, Reid Hoffman, Peter Thiel, and a number of companies like YC Research will jointly donate to ensure OpenAI is a nonprofit. The group pledged a billion dollars in funding for the project.
However, the actual donations are not what investors promise. Federal tax records show that at least one of the investors, YC Research, has never contributed anything to OpenAI. From its inception to 2021, OpenAI raised only $133.2 million.
The question is how much of the $133.2 million Elon Musk actually contributed. In 2016, the Musk Foundation donated $10 million to YC.org, a Sam Altman-related nonprofit. After that, YC.org gave 10 million USD to OpenAI. A year later, YC.org transferred OpenAI an additional 16 million USD, of which could be 5 million USD from Musk.
The billionaire's next investment in OpenAI is an electric car worth $248,295 in 2017. In 2018, Musk gave an additional $14,105 to upgrade OpenAI employees' transportation. The US billionaire's sponsorship of OpenAI ended in 2018 when he left the organization.
Tax filings also reveal some interesting details about OpenAI, including that Tesla used to send its engineers to support for free. Later, the soaring operating costs of the machines forced OpenAI to call for outside investment. Microsoft took the opportunity and poured a billion dollars into the startup.
Musk and his attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Musk says he's the reason OpenAI exists
Elon Musk said he named OpenAI and invested tens of millions of dollars to found the company behind ChatGPT.
"I came up with this name," Musk told CNBC on May 16, saying he is credited with recruiting key scientists and engineers and "is the reason OpenAI exists". However, he left in 2018 after disagreeing with the board about the pace of development and the nature of AI.
Elon Musk with the ChatGPT logo. Photo: Tech Central
Before that, Musk repeatedly criticized Microsoft for controlling OpenAI's operations and assessed the startup's limited profit model as "suspicious". He confirmed that the amount he invested in OpenAI is about 50 million USD.
When ChatGPT went viral and OpenAI became a hot tech startup, Musk is said to have been furious. He said OpenAI deviated from its original mission. "OpenAI was created as an open source. As the name suggests, this is a non-profit company, born to be a counterweight to Google, but now it has become an important source of profits for Microsoft," Musk wrote on Twitter February 17. In mid-March, he continued to say that he did not understand how the nonprofit he had contributed tens of millions of dollars to became a company with a market capitalization of 30 billion dollars. He implied this was not legal.
At the end of March, the South African-born billionaire signed a letter calling on the company and global organization to stop the super AI race for six months to jointly develop a common set of rules on AI. However, according to business records in the state of Nevada, Musk founded the company X.AI on March 9 to compete with OpenAI. He said there are plans to create a "truth-seeking AI that tries to understand the nature of the universe" and plans to call it TruthGPT, referring to the nature of ChatGPT's opposite direction.
In his interview with CNBC , Musk also mentioned Larry Page, the co-founder of Google and a former close friend of his. He said the two often talked for a long time about the nature of artificial intelligence. However, he thinks Page is quite apathetic, not paying enough attention to the safety of AI . The friendship gradually ended after Page commented that Musk was "humanist, favoring human consciousness over machine consciousness".
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