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Musk’s Lawsuit Against OpenAI, DeSantis’ Veto of Youth Social Media Ban & More

March 05, 2024 (4 min read)

Elon Musk Sues OpenAI for Putting Profits Ahead of Humanity

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk filed a lawsuit in Superior Court in San Francisco accusing ChatGPT creator OpenAI and its CEO, Sam Altman, of breach of contract for placing commercial interests ahead of the public good in its development of artificial intelligence. Musk’s suit claims the company, which he helped found in 2015, was established as a nonprofit for the “benefit of humanity,” including by making its technology publicly available, or open source.

Instead, the suit says, “OpenAI has been transformed into a closed-source de facto subsidiary of the largest technology company, Microsoft,” which has invested $13 billion in the AI company.

Musk reportedly tried to take control of OpenAI and turn it into a for-profit company himself in 2017, and he stepped down from the company’s board after that effort failed.

“The courts of California must decide what OpenAI must do after straying from its original mission,” said Gary Marcus, an emeritus professor of psychology and neural science at New York University, as well as a serial AI entrepreneur. “The court of public opinion must decide what it thinks of Musk, who has a fair point about OpenAI but has his own commercial A.I. interests and choices.”

The California court may not have to decide OpenAI’s fate in this particular case, however. Brian Quinn, a law professor at Boston College, said Musk probably doesn’t have legal standing to bring this suit, since nonprofit law only allows these types of challenges to be made by dues-paying members or directors of the nonprofit, or by regulators in the state where the company is registered, which in OpenAI’s case is Delaware. (NEW YORK TIMES)

FL Gov Vetoes Social Media Ban for Minors

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed the restrictive youth social media bill passed by the state’s Legislature last month (HB 1) over concerns about parental rights and privacy. The measure would have banned those under the age of 16 from accessing social media platforms, unlike other youth social media laws passed in Arkansas (SB 396), Ohio (HB 33) and Utah (SB 152) that merely require parental consent for minors to access such sites. Florida lawmakers are working on a new measure that would allow 14- and 15-year-olds to access social media sites with parental consent and prohibit access for younger children.

“I have vetoed HB 1 because the Legislature is about to produce a different, superior bill,” the governor wrote in a post on X. “Protecting children from harms associated with social media is important, as is supporting parents’ rights and maintaining the ability of adults to engage in anonymous speech. I anticipate the new bill will recognize these priorities and will be signed into law soon.” (ASSOCIATED PRESS, POLITICO, LEXISNEXIS STATE NET)

SCOTUS Takes Up Challenges to Social Media Censorship Laws

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two cases challenging laws passed in Florida (SB 7072) and Texas (HB 20) in 2021 aimed at preventing what supporters of the laws contend is censorship of conservative viewpoints on social media. The justices seemed concerned that websites other than those operated by social media companies, like online marketplace Etsy, could be subject to the laws and that they infringe on the First Amendment. (ROUTE FIFTY)

CA Lawmaker Introduces Package of AI Bills

California Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D), the newly appointed Chair of the Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee, has introduced a package of bills aimed at regulating artificial intelligence. The legislation includes AB 2930, which would require that algorithmic decision-making tools be proven to be free of bias before being allowed to make consequential decisions affecting Californians, and AB 3204, which would require data-trained AI models sold in the state to be registered with the state. “Together, the bills create a nation-leading regulatory framework where AI tools are tracked and understood,” says a press release announcing the measures. (CALIFORNIA STATE ASSEMBLY DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS, LEXISNEXIS STATE NET)

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