Elon Musk’s xAI To Open Source Grok Chatbot In Dig At OpenAI

Elon Musk has said his artificial intelligence firm xAI plans to open-source its Grok chatbot this week, days after he sued rival OpenAI for allegedly abandoning its non-profit mission in favour of a for-profit model.

“This week, @xAI will open source Grok,” Musk wrote on X, formerly Twitter, without providing further details.

Musk, who co-founded OpenAI in 2015 but left three years later, said in a podcast interview with computer scientist Lex Fridman in November that he viewed open source as part of OpenAI’s original model.

“The name, the open in OpenAI, is supposed to mean open source, and it was created as a nonprofit open source. And now it is a closed source for maximum profit,” he said.

Image credit: xAI

Open source debate

In his lawsuit earlier this month Musk argued that OpenAI is no longer focused on its original mission of developing artificial general intelligence (AGI) in a way that would “benefit humanity”, as was the plan when Musk helped found the company in 2015.

In response, OpenAI released emails that it said showed that Musk wanted OpenAI to merge with Tesla, raise $1 billion and name Musk as chief executive.

The company said in a blog post that Musk “started a competitor, and then sued us when we started making meaningful progress towards OpenAI’s mission without him”.

Vinod Khosla, whose firm was one of OpenAI’s earliest backers, has called Musk’s’ litigation a “massive distraction from the goals of getting to AGI and its benefits” and compared AI to the Manhattan Project.

‘Moral panic’

“Would you open source the Manhattan Project? This one is more serious for national security. We are in a tech economic war with China and AI that is a must-win,” he wrote on X.

Marc Andreessen, whose firm a16z has backed Mistral, whose chatbot is open source, accused Khosla of “lobbying to ban open source” AI research.

“Every significant new technology that advances human well-being is greeted by a ginned-up moral panic,” said Andreessen. “This is just the latest.”

Google and Meta are amongst the other companies to have released open source AI technologies.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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