Sam Altman discusses Elon Musk’s lawsuit against OpenAI on the Lex Fridman Podcast. – Video

Sam Altman discusses Elon Musk’s lawsuit against OpenAI on the Lex Fridman Podcast. – Video

In a recent episode of the Lex Fridman Podcast, tech entrepreneur Sam Altman discussed Elon Musk’s lawsuit against OpenAI, shedding light on the essence of Musk’s criticisms and the points he raised. Altman recalled the early days of OpenAI when it was a mere research lab with no clear direction on how the technology would evolve. He highlighted the challenges of navigating the rapidly advancing field of artificial intelligence, acknowledging that mistakes were made along the way.

Altman also shared insights into Musk’s motivations, revealing that the split between Musk and OpenAI stemmed from differing visions for the organization’s future. Musk wanted more control over OpenAI, even proposing that Tesla acquire the company. Altman emphasized OpenAI’s commitment to making powerful AI tools accessible to the public for free, a mission that aligns with their ethos of democratizing technology.

Reflecting on the lawsuit, Altman expressed sadness over the discord between two prominent figures in the tech industry. He emphasized the importance of friendly competition and cooperation in advancing AI technology. Altman also discussed the debate around open sourcing AI models, acknowledging that both open and closed source approaches have their merits.

Ultimately, Altman hoped for an amicable resolution between Musk and OpenAI, fostering a spirit of collaboration and innovation in the tech community. The podcast episode provides valuable insights into the complexities of the AI landscape and the dynamics between key industry players.

Watch the video by Lex Clips

Video Transcript

Our mutual friend Elon sued open AI what to you is the essence of what he’s criticizing to what degree does he have a point to what degree is he wrong I don’t know what it’s really about we started off just thinking we’re going to be a research lab and having no idea about

How this technology was going to go it’s hard to because it was only you know seven or eight years ago it’s hard to go back and really remember what was like then but this before language models were a big deal this was before we had any idea about an API or selling access

To a chatbot is before we had any idea we were going to productize it all so we’re like we’re just like going to try to do research and you know we don’t really know what we’re going to do with that I think with like many new fundamentally new things you start

Fumbling through the dark and you make some assumptions most of which turn out to be wrong and then it became clear that we were going to need to do different things and also have huge amounts more Capital so we said okay well the structure doesn’t quite work

For that how do we patch the structure um and then you patch it again and Patch it again and you end up with something that does look kind of eyebrow raising to say the least but we got here gradually with I think reasonable decisions at each point along the way

And doesn’t mean I wouldn’t do it totally differently if we could go back now with an oracle but you don’t get at the Oracle at the time but anyway in terms of what elon’s real motivations here are I don’t know to the degree you remember what was

The response that open a gave in the blog post can you summarize it oh we just said like you know Elon said this set of things here’s our characterization or here’s this sort of on our characterization here’s like the characterization of how this went down um we tried to like not make it

Emotional and just sort of say like here’s the history I do think there’s a degree of mischaracterization from Elon here about one of the points you just made which is the degree of uncertainty had at the time you guys are a bunch of like a small group of researchers crazily talking about AGI

Whenever everybody’s laughing at that thought wasn’t that long ago Elon was crazily talking about launching Rockets yeah when people were laughing at that thought uh so I think he’d have more empathy for this I mean I I do think that there’s personal stuff here that there was a

Split that open Ai and a lot of amazing people here chose the part ways with Elon so there’s a personal Elon chose the part ways can you describe that exactly the the the choosing to part ways he thought open a was going to fail um he wanted

Total control to sort of turn it around we wanted to keep going in the direction that now has become open AI he also wanted Tesla to be able to build an AGI effort at various times he wanted to make open AI into a for-profit company

That he could have control of or have it merge with Tesla um we didn’t want to do that and he decided to leave which that’s fine so you’re saying and that’s one of the things that the block post says is that he wanted open AI to be basically

Acquired by Tesla yeah in the same way that or maybe something similar or maybe something more dramatic than the partnership with Microsoft my memor is the proposal was just like yeah like get acquired by Tesla and have Tesla have full control over it I’m pretty sure

That’s what it was so what is the word open in open AI mean to Elon at the time has talked about this in the email exchanges and all this kind of stuff what does it mean to you at the time what does it mean to you now I would

Definitely pick a speaking of going back with an oracle I’d pick a different name um one of the things that I think opening eye is doing that is the most important of everything that we’re doing is putting powerful technology in the hands of people for free as a public

Good not we’re not you know we don’t run ads on our free version we don’t monze it in other ways we just say it’s part of our mission we want to put increasingly powerful tools in the hands of people for free and get them to use them and I

Think that kind of open is really important to our mission I think if you give people great tools and teach them to use them or don’t even teach them they’ll figure it out and let them go build an incredible future for each other with that uh that’s a big deal so

If we can keep putting like free or low cost or free and low cost powerful AI tools out in the world uh I think it’s a huge deal for how we fulfill the mission um open source or not yeah I think we should open source some stuff and not

Other stuff uh the it does become this like religious battle line where Nuance is hard to have but I think Nuance is the right answer so he said change your name to closed Ai and I’ll drop the lawsuit I mean is it going to become this Battleground in in the land of

Memes about think that speaks to the seriousness with which Elon means the lawsuit and uh yeah I mean that’s like an astonishing thing to say I think like well I don’t think the lawsuit may maybe correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think the lawsuit is legally serious

It’s more to make a point about the future of AGI and the company that’s currently leading the way so look I mean grock had not open sourced anything until people pointed out it was a little bit hypocritical and then he announced that grock will open source things this week I don’t think open

Source versus not is what this is really about for him well we we’ll talk about open source and not I do think maybe criticizing the competition is great just talking a little that’s great but friendly competition versus like I personally hate lawsuits look I think this whole thing is like Unbecoming of a

Builder and I respect Elon as one of the great builders of our time and um I know he knows what it’s like to have like haters attack him and it makes me extra sad he’s doing it TOS yeah he’s one of the greatest Builders of all time potentially the greatest builder of all

Time it makes me sad and I think it makes a lot of people sad like there’s a lot of people who’ve really looked up to him for a long time and said this I said you know in some interview or something that I missed the old Elon and the

Number of messages I got being like that exactly encapsulates how I feel I think he should just win he should just make X grock beat GPT and then GPT beats Croc and it’s just a competition and it’s it’s beautiful for everybody but on the question of Open Source do you think

There’s a lot of companies playing with this idea it’s quite interesting I would say meta surprisingly has led the way on this or like uh at least took the first step in the game of chess of like really open sourcing the model of course it’s not the state-of-the-art model but open sourcing

Llama and you know Google is flirting with the idea of open sourcing a smaller version have you what are the pros and cons of open sourcing have you played around with this idea yeah I think there there is definitely a place for open source models particularly smaller

Models that people can run locally I think there’s huge demand for um I think there will be some open source models there will be some closed Source models uh this it won’t be unlike other ecosystems in that way I listened to uh all-in podcast talking about this this

Loss and all that kind of stuff and they were more concerned about the precedent of going from nonprofit to this cap for profit what precent ass sets for other startups is that I don’t I would heavily discourage any startup that was thinking about starting as a nonprofit and adding

Like a for-profit arm later I’d heavily discourage them from doing that I don’t think we’ll set a precedent here okay so most most startups should go just for sure and again if we knew what was going to happen we would have done that too well like in theory if you like dance

Beautifully here you could there’s like some tax incentives or whatever but I I don’t think that’s like how most people think about these things just not possible to save a lot of money for a startup if you do it this way no I think there’s like laws that would make that

Pretty difficult where do you hope this goes with Elon what this this tension is dance what do you hope this like if we go 1 2 3 years from now your relationship with him on a personal level too like friendship friendly competition just all this kind of

Stuff yeah I mean I i’ really respect Elon um and I hope that years in the future we have an amicable relationship yeah I hope you guys have an amicable relationship like this month and just compete and win and um and explore these ideas together um I do suppose there’s competition for talent

Or whatever but it should be friendly competition just build build cool and Elon is pretty good at building cool but so are you for

Video “Sam Altman on Elon Musk suing OpenAI | Lex Fridman Podcast” was uploaded on 03/18/2024 to Youtube Channel Lex Clips