OpenAI, one of the largest and most influential AI research entities, was originally a non-profit. However, they just announced that they are creating a “capped-profit” entity, OpenAI LP. This capped-profit entity will supposedly help them accomplish their mission of building artificial general intelligence (AGI):
We want to increase our ability to raise capital while still serving our mission, and no pre-existing legal structure we know of strikes the right balance. Our solution is to create OpenAI LP as a hybrid of a for-profit and nonprofit—which we are calling a “capped-profit” company.
The fundamental idea of OpenAI LP is that investors and employees can get a capped return if we succeed at our mission, which allows us to raise investment capital and attract employees with startup-like equity. But any returns beyond that amount—and if we are successful, we expect to generate orders of magnitude more value than we’d owe to people who invest in or work at OpenAI LP—are owned by the original OpenAI Nonprofit entity.
To some this makes total sense. Others have criticized the move, because they say that it misrepresents money as the only barrier to AGI or implies that OpenAI will develop it in a vacuum. What do you think?
Learn more about OpenAI’s mission from one of it’s founders in this episode of Practical AI.