Elon Musk announces plan for keeping AI engineers in OpenAI ‘talent war’ salvo

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is fighting back against OpenAI in “the craziest talent war” he’s “ever seen.”

The quirky billionaire announced in a series of posts on X that Tesla will be giving its AI (Artificial Intelligence) engineers a pay raise in a bid to keep them from defecting to OpenAI.

Musk was confirming a report from The Information that “Tesla’s computer vision chief Ethan Knight has left Tesla and joined Elon Musk’s xAI company.”

Musk said that “vision chief” is a bit of an overstatement. According to his LinkedIn profile, Knight is a staff machine-learning scientist at Tesla.

“Ethan was going to join OpenAI, so it was either xAI or them,” Musk wrote. “They have been aggressively recruiting Tesla engineers with massive compensation offers and have unfortunately been successful in a few cases.”

“Ethan is very talented, but ‘vision chief’ would be overstating things,” he continued. “There are over 200 excellent engineers in the Tesla AI/Autonomy team. Tesla’s pace of progress with autonomy is accelerating.”

“The talent war for AI is the craziest talent war I’ve ever seen!” Musk stated.

According to The Wall Street Journal, “The recent boom in AI has intensified Silicon Valley’s talent wars, as startups compete with established tech giants in the race to build the next big thing.”

“Tech companies are serving up million-dollar-a-year compensation packages, accelerated stock-vesting schedules and offers to poach entire engineering teams to draw people with expertise and experience in the kind of generative AI that is powering OpenAI’s ChatGPT and other humanlike bots,” the outlet reported. “Layoffs are continuing in other areas of tech, as companies reallocate resources to invest more in covering the enormous cost of developing AI technology.”

“Musk was among OpenAI’s co-founders in 2015 but left the board in 2018,” according to FOX Business. “He is suing the company and CEO Sam Altman, alleging the organization breached its founding agreement to develop AI for the benefit of humanity, rather than for profit, by partnering with Microsoft.”

In July 2023, Musk announced on X the “formation of @xAI to understand reality.”

“OpenAI has been leading the AI boom, while xAI has been left playing catch-up with the organization Musk’s money helped get off the ground,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

“AI is the new gold rush,” noted one user on X, “it will be the one technology that will produce more trillion dollar companies than anything else.”

Melissa Fine


We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. If a comment is spam, instead of replying to it please click the ∨ icon below and to the right of that comment. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.

Latest Articles