According to a Semafor report, Musk’s departure from OpenAI in 2018 was not due to a desire to avoid any potential conflict of interest with Tesla, as previously stated, but rather as a result of his failed takeover attempt of OpenAI.
According to sources familiar with the situation, Musk told OpenAI co-founder Sam Altman in early 2018 that the venture had fallen far behind Google. Musk proposed taking over OpenAI and leading it himself, but when Altman and the other co-founders declined, Musk resigned from the board and withdrew a large donation to the organization.
Semafor adds that a power struggle erupted at OpenAI when Greg Brockman, an OpenAI co-founder and then Chief Technology Officer, objected to Musk’s takeover, as did other OpenAI employees.
Musk’s departure was followed by an assurance from OpenAI that he would continue to provide funding and advice to the organization. However, Musk has since become an outspoken critic of OpenAI, stating that he disagreed with some of the team’s plans and that the company should be more open.
Musk’s criticisms grew louder last month when he tweeted that OpenAI had devolved into a closed-source, for-profit company effectively controlled by Microsoft, which was not his intention.
While Musk stated that he would continue to fund OpenAI, sources say he did not make any further payments after his departure. As a result, OpenAI was unable to pay the high fees associated with training AI models on supercomputers.
The sources for this piece include an article in Yahoo.