OpenAI, originally established as a nonprofit organization with the objective of advancing digital intelligence for the greater good, made a significant transition to a for-profit model in 2019. Elon Musk, an investor who contributed approximately $50 million to OpenAI, has raised concerns about the legality of this transformation. During Tesla's shareholder meeting in May 2023, Musk revealed his initial vision for OpenAI as an open-source alternative to DeepMind, which had been acquired by Google in 2014.
Musk drew a comparison to illustrate his concerns, likening OpenAI's shift from nonprofit to for-profit to a hypothetical scenario where an organization dedicated to saving the Amazon rainforest transforms into a lumber company, profiting from logging and selling trees. He questioned the legality of such a transition and challenged the notion that starting as a nonprofit and subsequently transferring intellectual property to a for-profit entity should be the default approach.
Initially, OpenAI pursued nonprofit status to focus on its mission without being bound by the need for financial returns. However, in 2019, OpenAI announced the creation of OpenAI LP, a hybrid entity combining elements of both for-profit and nonprofit structures, with governance still under the nonprofit organization. This hybrid model aimed to attract additional capital and accelerate the pace of growth. Notably, Microsoft made a substantial multiyear, multibillion-dollar commitment to OpenAI, and the company has sought further funding, including a reported $100 million for the development of a new cryptocurrency named Worldcoin.
While OpenAI shifted its focus to a for-profit model, there remains a possibility of releasing open-source AI models, although the company has not done so since 2019. However, the open-source versions may not be as competitive as the paid offering, which is available to users for a monthly subscription fee of $20. The revenue generated from this subscription service serves as a significant source of income for OpenAI. Specific details regarding OpenAI's future plans concerning open-source models have yet to be disclosed.
Musk's questioning of OpenAI's transition reflects his concerns about the potential implications and legality of such a transformation. As OpenAI continues to evolve, it faces the ongoing challenge of striking a balance between its goals of advancing technology and ensuring financial sustainability.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this section is for informational purposes only, doesn't represent any investment advice or FameEX's official view.