OpenAI’s Sam Altman Says He Texted Elon Musk After Getting Sued

Estimated read time 3 min read
  • Sam Altman said he texted Elon Musk after the Tesla CEO sued him.
  • Altman said the pair traded “some emojis back and forth.”
  • Musk sued Altman and OpenAI earlier this year, alleging the company violated its ‘founding agreement.’

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OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said he fired off a text to Elon Musk right after he found out the Tesla CEO had sued him.

Altman told tech journalist Kara Swisher during an interview onstage at City Arts & Lectures Thursday that he sent the billionaire “something trivial” in the wake of Musk’s lawsuit against OpenAI and several of its cofounders.

“You know what you said,” Swisher said, asking Altman if it was something along the lines of “WTF?”

“It was like a little bit nicer than that,” Altman said. “I don’t remember. You know, the spirit of that.”

In response, Altman said the pair “sent some emojis back and forth.”

Representatives for Altman and Musk did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier this year, Musk sued Altman and OpenAI, alleging the company had breached its “founding agreement” and was at risk of violating its nonprofit mission of benefiting humanity through its partnership with Microsoft.

Musk is calling for OpenAI to make its research and technology open-source, cut off Microsoft from GPT-4, and prevent Altman and Microsoft from benefiting from the company.

Musk helped cofound OpenAI alongside Altman in 2015, but stepped away from the company’s board about three years later, saying his AI efforts at Tesla had become a conflict of interest. The Tesla CEO has repeatedly slammed Altman and the company in the years since leaving OpenAI’s board of directors.

Last year, Musk launched his own AI venture.

In the face of Musk’s very public disses, Altman has been more diplomatic in his public response to Musk. He told Lex Fridman last year that he understands Musk’s is “really stressed” about AI safety but he wishes the billionaire would do more to acknowledge the work OpenAI has done to address concerns about the technology.

“I miss the old Elon,” Altman told Swisher. “I grew up with him as an absolute hero,” the CEO added.

Still, Altman’s company has already started to push back against Musk’s lawsuit.

In a legal filing made public on Monday, OpenAI’s lawyers called Musk’s lawsuit “frivolous” and “incoherent,” saying the billionaire has acted out of jealousy for OpenAI’s success after he left the company.

Earlier this month, the ChatGPT creator also released some emails that appeared to conflict with Musk’s public comments about the company.