OpenAI is a non-profit research company that aims to develop and direct artificial intelligence (AI) in ways that benefit humanity as a whole. The company was founded by Elon Musk and Sam Altman in 2015 and is headquartered in San Francisco, California.
OpenAI was created in part because of its founders’ existential concerns about the potential for catastrophe resulting from carelessness and misuse of general purpose AI. The company has a long-term focus on fundamental advances in AI and its capabilities. The two founders of the company and other investors started the company with a $1 billion endowment. In February 2018, Elon Musk left the company due to potential conflicts with his work at Tesla, the electronics company inspired by Nikola Tesla.
The stated intent of the company -- to work towards safe artificial general intelligence for the benefit of humanity -- is reflected in their intent to freely collaborate with other research organizations and individuals. Research and patents made by the company are intended to remain open to the public except in cases where they could negatively affect safety.