Twitter CEO Elon Musk has threatened to sue Microsoft, accusing the software giant of illegally using Twitter data to train its artificial intelligence model. Musk's threat came after Microsoft announced it would drop Twitter from its advertising platform. Musk tweeted, "They trained illegally using Twitter data. Lawsuit time." However, no lawsuit has been filed, and both Twitter and Microsoft have not commented on the matter.
This threat highlights the growing issue of data ownership in the generative AI field. Big tech companies are developing cutting-edge AI models like OpenAI's GPT, and data owners are seeking to stop them or charge for the use of their content. LLMs like GPT require terabytes of data for training, much of which is scraped from websites like Reddit, StackOverflow, and Twitter. As these new AI models move from research labs and universities into the corporate world, data owners are starting to make demands.
For example, Reddit announced that it would charge companies for access to its programming interface used to feed conversations among Redditors into AI training software. Universal Music Group also stated that training AIs on its artists' music would represent "both a breach of our agreements and a violation of copyright law." Stock photo database Getty Images is suing Stable Diffusion, alleging that the company copied its content to train its AI image generator.
Musk's threat is also related to his dissatisfaction with OpenAI's move from a non-profit model to a highly valuable business influenced by Microsoft. Musk was a co-founder of OpenAI before leaving its board in 2018. Microsoft invested $10 billion in OpenAI last year in an unusually structured deal. LLMs like GPT require Twitter data because it captures informal, back-and-forth conversations. Musk said in December that Twitter would "pause" OpenAI's access to its database. He's also announced plans to build his own large language model in one of his companies called TruthGPT.
As the battle over data ownership in the AI field continues, it remains to be seen how companies will navigate this complex issue.