Billionaire Elon Musk confirmed that he exited OpenAI, an artificial intelligence research group, on “good terms” amid disagreements with team members over the project’s direction.
Musk also cited a desire to focus on “solving a painfully large number of engineering and manufacturing problems at Tesla (especially) and SpaceX.”
Elon Musk Cites Competition Over Talent
On Twitter, Musk suggested he had encountered some conflicts of interest because Tesla was competing for some of the same people that OpenAI wanted to recruit.
“I didn’t agree with some of what OpenAI team wanted to do. Add that all up, and it was just better to part ways on good terms.”
Also, Tesla was competing for some of same people as OpenAI & I didn’t agree with some of what OpenAI team wanted to do. Add that all up & it was just better to part ways on good terms.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 17, 2019
Elon Musk: AI Is an Existential Threat to Mankind
Elon Musk co-founded OpenAI in 2015 with American entrepreneur Sam Altman, who serves as the San Francisco-based company’s co-chairman. The goal of OpenAI is to develop and promote safe, “friendly AI.”
Musk has previously warned against the existential threat posed by artificial intelligence.
“We should be very careful about artificial intelligence,” Musk told the Guardian in 2014. “If I had to guess at what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that.
I’m increasingly inclined to think that there should be some regulatory oversight, maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish. With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon.”
Musk Has Hands Full With SpaceX and Tesla
As it is, Musk has his hands full, navigating problems at both his electric-car company Tesla and his rocket company SpaceX.
As CCN reported, SpaceX laid off 10 percent of its 6,000-employee workforce in January 2019 in a move to cut costs and streamline operations.
Musk launched SpaceX in 2002 to make space travel accessible to everyday people. SpaceX’s other top priority is to colonize Mars. SpaceX is considered one of the most valuable private companies in the world, with the potential to raise an “unlimited amount” of capital.
Elon Musk’s Bad Week Gets Worse as SpaceX Lays off 600 People https://t.co/uCBuOEn2xL
— CCN Markets (@CCNMarkets) January 13, 2019
Big Auto is Hunting Tesla Like Pack of Hyenas
Meanwhile, Musk is also at the helm of electric-car pioneer Tesla. Two weeks ago, German automaker Daimler confirmed that it is in talks with the South African business mogul to collaborate on an electric van inspired by the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.
The potential partnership comes at a crucial inflection point for Tesla, which is being hunted by Big Auto like a pack of rabid hyenas.
As CCN reported, Tesla is facing mounting competition from Volkswagen, General Motors, and Ford, which are all ratcheting up their electric-car game.
Volkswagen is investing $800 million to expand an electric vehicle plant in Tennessee. General Motors is launching an all-electric Cadillac. And Ford says it’s investing $11 billion to make electric cars by 2022.
Musk has said that he feels exhilarated ― not intimidated ― by the onslaught of competition in a field he pioneered.
However, that doesn’t mean he’s not going defend his turf and churn out the best product possible. “I definitely feel stress,” Musk told CBS News in April 2018.
“I’m sleeping on the factory floor, not because I think that’s a fun place to sleep … Because I don’t have time to go home and shower [sometimes].
I really believe that one should lead from the front lines, and that’s why I’m here.”