BY Wesley Diphoko 3 MINUTE READ

Elon Musk has been receiving serious backlash lately for all the right reasons. He has been off the mark a couple of times. He has been vocal about issues that should have been left to people with time to waste. Recently however he has raised something that should receive everyone’s attention. Last week he matched his criticism of Sam Altman (co-founder of OpenAI) with legal action. Why is one of the richest man in the world suing an innovator with a mission to advance technology? Few years ago before ChatGPT was a reality, Elon Musk, Sam Altman and others set out a vision to develop an AI machinery that would be free of commercial interests and everything that comes with it. It was supposed to be a holy AI that shows others how to do good. In a sense, it was going to set a standard for others to follow.

As most people who follow tech would know, Open AI was turned around by Sam and became a for profit entity that received funding from funders who were keen to see economic benefits from OpenAI.

The company moved away from its core to doing something contrary to its founding values.

As a result of this move by Sam Altman, there’s a serious gap of an AI organisation that can exist for the real benefit of all.

For this reason, Elon Musk has legally challenged Sam Altman and OpenAI. According to the New York Times, Mr. Musk sued OpenAI and its chief executive, Sam Altman, accusing them of breaching a contract by putting profits and commercial interests in developing artificial intelligence ahead of the public good. A multibillion-dollar partnership that OpenAI developed with Microsoft, Mr. Musk said, represented an abandonment of a founding pledge to carefully develop A.I. and make the technology publicly available.

The outcome of this legal challenge could shape the future of technology institutions that were designed to benefit all.

If the challenge by Elon Musk succeeds, it will ensure that institutions that were created to benefit all are not turned around to benefit just a few.

An entity such as OpenAI was created to ensure that mistakes of the past are not repeated.

In the era before AI, many have missed out on early benefits of tech. OpenAI was designed to avoid such an outcome. Of all the sins that Elon Musk has committed, this time around he’s on the right track. Some may say, as Vinod Khosla has said, it’s just sour grapes from Musk. The reality however is that someone had to raise this issue and perhaps shape the future of tech on such matters. In the future we are likely to see more technologies that will require neutrality. The future will require an OpenAI type entity that is designed to serve society at large. Tech needs an entity that is not just driven by profit. A great example in this regard is Wikipedia. As much as Wikipedia was criticised for inaccuracies it has become one of the most important websites of our times. One of the unique factors about the website is that it was built as a non-profit to benefit all. This is one of the reasons why it remained impactful and still served society. Imagine if Wikipedia had been turned into a for profit organisation.

While Elon Musk is making a point legally about the need for a non-profit organisation in AI, there’s a need for a group of tech leaders to set up such an AI institution for the benefit of all. It should be an AI non profit organisation that is built to watch the activity of other AIs and ensure that society is made aware of its harms and contribute towards a solution