Elon Musk told OpenAI to move faster right before he left the company in 2018: NYT

elon musk told openai to move faster right before he left the company in 2018: nyt

Elon Musk cofounded OpenAI in 2015 but left the company in 2018, citing a conflict of interest with his work at Tesla. Kirsty Wigglesworth/POOL/AFP via Getty Images; Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

  • Elon Musk said OpenAI needed to be quicker with its work before departing from the company, per NYT.
  • Musk left OpenAI in 2018, citing a conflict of interest with his work at Tesla.
  • He has since become a vocal advocate for a cautious approach toward AI innovation.

Elon Musk had some choice parting words for OpenAI’s staff before he left the company in 2018.

The billionaire cofounded the AI company in 2015 but left in 2018, citing a conflict of interest with his work at Tesla.

When Musk announced his departure to the company’s employees, he told staff that OpenAI needed to hasten its progress, according to a Sunday report from The New York Times.

Musk’s suggestion that OpenAI speed things up was met with pushback from an OpenAI research, The Times reported, citing three anonymous sources who say they were at the meeting. The researcher told Musk that Musk’s suggestion was impulsive and overhasty, per The Times.

The billionaire left the meeting after calling the OpenAI researcher a “jackass,” The Times reported.

That Musk actually wanted OpenAI to move faster, not slower, is interesting in light of how he’s styled himself as a vocal advocate for a cautious approach toward AI innovation.

In March, Musk signed an open letter that called for a six-month pause on AI development.

The letter, which was also signed by Steve Wozniak and Pinterest cofounder Evan Sharp, said that there was a need to step back “from the dangerous race to ever-larger unpredictable black-box models with emergent capabilities.”

“AI is more dangerous than, say, mismanaged aircraft design or production maintenance or bad car production,” Musk told Fox News in April, adding that the technology “has the potential of civilization destruction.”

Musk also announced his own AI startup, xAI in July. The company’s website says it strives to “accelerate human scientific discovery” with AI technology.

And in November, Musk revealed xAI’s Chat-GPT rival, Grok. Musk claimed in a post on his social media platform X that Grok had “a massive advantage over other models” because it had real-time access to X.

Representatives for Musk and OpenAI did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider sent outside regular business hours.

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