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Elon Musk to Open-Source AI Chatbot Grok Amid Ongoing OpenAI Lawsuit

Jimmy Aki
Last updated: | 2 min read
xAI Grok
Image by Jimmy Aki, Midjourney

xAI CEO Elon Musk is making ChatGPT competitor Grok open-source. His decision comes after Musk filed a lawsuit against OpenAI, a company he co-founded, for allegedly abandoning its original non-profit mission.

Musk’s intention to open-source Grok was announced on a March 11 X post. This move aligns with Musk’s long-standing advocacy for responsible AI development, as demonstrated by his call for a “third-party referee” in AI development at the UK’s AI Safety Summit in 2023.

xAI’s Grok and Musk’s Vision

Elon Musk’s departure from OpenAI due to disagreements over the organization’s direction and strategy led him to launch xAI. The launch of Grok in November 2023 further highlighted Musk’s commitment to open-source and non-profit AI initiatives.

In a November podcast with Lex Fridman, Musk criticized OpenAI’s transition from a non-profit, open-source initiative to a profit-driven, closed-source model.

Specifically, Musk is recognized for his opposition to large tech companies profiting from AI development, frequently highlighting concerns about the ethical implications of such practices.

Open-sourcing Grok will align xAI with companies like France’s Mistral, which advocates for open access to AI models.

This approach allows developers to collaborate and accelerate improvements.

Regardless, tech investors are divided on open-sourcing AI, particularly in light of Musk’s lawsuit. While some see it as a catalyst for innovation, others are worried about potential misuse.

Musk’s Legal Battle with OpenAI

Recently, Musk filed a lawsuit against OpenAI, claiming it breached the agreement made when OpenAI was founded as a non-profit organization.

He argued that OpenAI’s partnership with Microsoft, reportedly worth nearly $3 billion by 2023, contradicted its original mission of advancing open-source AI for the benefit of humanity.

The lawsuit urged OpenAI to return to its open-source principles and prevent the for-profit exploitation of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) technology.

In response to the accusations, OpenAI released emails suggesting that Musk had previously agreed to transform the AI company into a for-profit entity. This revelation came a few months after CEO Sam Altman was reinstated to the board following his five-day dismissal in November 2023.

Grok is an AI chatbot similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, but can access real-time information through X and tackle sensitive topics that other AI systems might avoid.

The Grok-1 large language model powers it, and while it is more advanced than GPT-3.5, Grok reportedly falls short of OpenAI’s latest GPT-4 model in overall performance.

Musk’s announcement on X has seen mostly positive responses, with many users praising his commitment to open-source AI.

One user on X suggested, “OpenAI should do the same. If they are ‘open,’ that is.”

Musk responded by stating, “OpenAI is a lie.”