Could OpenAI’s nonprofit be forced to dissolve?
As Robert Weissman, the President of Public Citizen put it to me on a phone call, the OpenAI drama seemed in part to be a showdown between for profit and nonprofit aspects of the organization; it is not clear that organization as whole has remained true to its nonprofit mission. “I don’t think it’s a radical argument we are making. There was a competition here and the faction that won wanted to pursue profit.”
If the State of California chooses to investigate, one possible outcome could be that the State of California could force OpenAI to dissolve the nonprofit parent, making a distribution, conceivably measured in the billions of dollars, to an external charity (focused in whole or in part on AI). As Public Citizen’s Weissman also said to me, “with billions of dollars you could really fund some important work, independent of what the remaining for-profit might choose to do.”
Stay tuned. You can read the complaint here: https://www.citizen.org/article/letter-to-california-attorney-general-on-openais-nonprofit-status/
Gary Marcus has wondered for a long time about the dynamics between the for profit and non profit elements of OpenAI. Perhaps the State of California will finally find out.