Tesla's CEO Leaves OpenAI To Avoid Conflict Of Interest

Elon Musk OnInnovation Flickr Interview

This week OpenAI published a new blog post revealing that Elon Musk will leave the Board in order to eliminate a potential conflict of interest between the non-profit organization and Tesla. Elon Musk will remain an advisor and will continue to donate funds to OpenAI, and in the meantime, the organization has welcomed a few new donors including Jed McCaleb, Gabe Newell, Michael Seibel, Jaan Tallinn, Ashton Eaton, and Brianne Theisen-Eaton. Following Musk’s departure, the Board will now be consisting of Greg Brockman, Ilya Sutskever, Holden Karnofsky, and OpenAI co-founder Sam Altman.

OpenAI was founded by Sam Altman and Elon Musk a little over two years ago in December 2015 as a non-profit organization meant to research and develop artificial intelligence solutions that would benefit mankind. Although the effects of AI advancements on human civilization are not entirely understood, OpenAI believes that, as with any other tool powerful enough to leave a mark on humanity, artificial intelligence has the potential of greatly benefiting society if used correctly, or pose one of the biggest threats to our civilization if misused. The purpose of OpenAI is to research and create solutions to avoid the latter scenario and aims to make any beneficial AI advancements available to the open public. In the past, Elon Musk had shown great reluctance towards AI and considers it one of humanity’s biggest existential threats. He went as far as revealing that one of the reasons he previously invested in Google’s DeepMind was to keep a close eye on the development of AI in fear that this powerful tool could be misused or possibly take over the world in a Skynet-like scenario. The founding of OpenAI was another effort to keep AI in check, however, Elon Musk is now taking his leave from the Board in order to avoid potential future conflicts of interest with Tesla. Currently, the car manufacturer continues to develop AI solutions for the next-generation of self-driving vehicles and aims to achieve Level 5 driverless technology for full automation.

Meanwhile, OpenAI is now preparing for the next phase of investment in compute research required for AI breakthroughs. Furthermore, the organization revealed that in the coming months it will discuss more details about the principles and policies that need to be adopted and/or changed in order to ensure that AI will benefit all of humanity.