Elon Musk, who cofounded OpenAI, says he tried to make it 'the furthest thing from Google' after disagreeing with Larry Page over AI safety

  • Elon Musk said "the reason OpenAI exists at all" is because of a disagreement with Larry Page.

  • The two tech billionaires disagreed on AI safety and regulation, Musk told Tucker Carlson.

  • As a result, Musk said, he tried to make OpenAI "the furthest thing from Google."

We can thank a disagreement between Elon Musk and Larry Page for the current AI arms race.

"The reason OpenAI exists at all is that Larry Page and I used to be close friends and I would stay at his house in Palo Alto, and I would talk to him late into the night about AI safety," Musk told Tucker Carlson in part one of a two-part interview that aired Monday. "And at least my perception was that Larry was not taking AI safety seriously enough."

Musk added: "He wanted sort of digital superintelligence, basically digital God if you will, as soon as possible."

Google's approach to artificial intelligence has "great potential for good, but there's also potential for bad," Musk said.

Musk said that he disagreed with Page about how best to protect humans and ensure we aren't overtaken by super-intelligent AI. "Then he called me a specist," Musk said, referring to a term that means valuing one type of life form — like humans — over another, like animals or, in theory, superintelligent AI. "So I was like, 'Okay, that's it, yes I'm a specist, you got me,'" adding that Page's comment "was the last straw."

At the time, roughly 2014, Google had acquired DeepMind as well as "about three-quarters of all the AI talent in the world," Musk said, alongside "a tremendous amount of money and more computers than anyone else."

His personal disagreement with Page became the catalyst to build a competitor.

"I thought, the furthest thing from Google would be like a non-profit that is fully open because Google was closed, for-profit," Musk told Carlson. "So that's why the 'open' in OpenAI refers to open source, transparency so people know what's going on."

Musk cofounded OpenAI in 2015, but left its board three years later. He has since become a vocal critic of the company.

The Tesla CEO also said in the interview that he's planning to build an AI he calls TruthGPT, which he said would be "a maximum truth-seeking AI that tries to understand the nature of the universe."

Representatives for Musk and Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider.

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