OpenAI clarifies the meaning of “open” in its name, responding to Musk lawsuit

The OpenAI logo as an opening to a red brick wall.

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On Tuesday, OpenAI published a blog post titled "OpenAI and Elon Musk" in response to a lawsuit Musk filed last week. The ChatGPT maker shared several archived emails from Musk that suggest he once supported a pivot away from open source practices in the company's quest to develop artificial general intelligence (AGI). The selected emails also imply that the "open" in "OpenAI" means that the ultimate result of its research into AGI should be open to everyone but not necessarily "open source" along the way.

In one telling exchange from January 2016 shared by the company, OpenAI Chief Scientist Illya Sutskever wrote, "As we get closer to building AI, it will make sense to start being less open. The Open in openAI means that everyone should benefit from the fruits of AI after it's built, but it's totally OK to not share the science (even though sharing everything is definitely the right strategy in the short and possibly medium term for recruitment purposes)."

In response, Musk replied simply, "Yup."

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