Tesla CEO Elon Musk claimed on Tuesday he is “the reason that OpenAI exists,” citing his past investment in the entity, and that Microsoft exerts control over the AI company, an assertion strongly denied by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
“I came up with the name,” Musk told CNBC’s David Faber. He also said he was instrumental in recruiting key scientists and engineers at the company.
Musk has previously repeatedly asserted that Microsoft controls OpenAI and that OpenAI’s capped-profit model is questionable. Musk was an early backer of the AI startup, reportedly committing to $1 billion in support before pulling out over disagreements over the speed of OpenAI’s advancements. He said he ultimately invested somewhere around $50 million.
He also suggested that OpenAI didn’t place sufficient emphasis on safe AI development. Musk was a signatory to a March open letter asking for a pause in advanced AI development while safeguards were established but told Faber that he knew the letter was unlikely to do anything.
Despite signing the letter, Musk still incorporated a rival AI firm, X.AI, in April.
But Musk added that signing the letter warning of the dangers of AI was something he wanted to do “for the record.”
An OpenAI spokesperson was not immediately available to comment.
Separately, Musk told Faber that he used to be close friends with Google co-founder Larry Page and that the two of them would have lengthy conversations about the nature of artificial intelligence.
Page was “quite cavalier” about AI, Musk claimed. Page “did not seem to be concerned about AI safety,” Musk alleged, and said, “The final straw was Larry calling me a ‘species-ist’ for being pro-human consciousness instead of machine consciousness.”
Larry Page was not immediately available for comment.