The talent war between OpenAI and Tesla to secure the best AI engineers is starting to heat up as the EV maker is raising salaries to keep its workers from going to OpenAI. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is calling it the “craziest talent war” he has ever seen due to OpenAI’s aggressive recruiting and massive compensation to secure top talent.

Musk alleged that OpenAI has enticed away a number of Tesla’s engineers, leading Tesla to boost the salaries of its AI engineers in an effort to retain talent. Musk’s xAI venture has also attracted several Tesla engineers, among them ML scientist Ethan Knight, who, according to Musk, had initially planned to work with OpenAI.

Musk’s AI startup xAI is reportedly one the highest-paying AI companies in the market at the moment, according to Perplexity CEO Aravind Srinivas. The CEO claims that xAI is paying its employees even more than OpenAI, which is known for paying its developers well. He says that Musk himself screens many of the applicants looking to join xAI.

In related news, Mark Zuckerberg has been in the spotlight for attempting to recruit AI experts from Google DeepMind, having reportedly sent emails to several of them with offers to join Meta. DeepMind researchers meanwhile have been leaving the company to pursue their own endeavors.

The ongoing rivalry between Musk and OpenAI has escalated, culminating in a lawsuit filed by the billionaire last month. Musk alleged that OpenAI has betrayed its original mission in pursuit of profit-making for Microsoft. OpenAI responded by claiming that Musk never had much of an impact on the startup’s growth and wanted full control of it to make it a cash cow for Tesla.

The intense competition between Elon Musk and OpenAI has evolved into a fierce battle for talent, placing Tesla in a precarious position amidst the fray. As the quest for elite AI researchers intensifies across the industry, the history between Musk and Altman could suggest that there’s a personal element fueling this ongoing poaching saga. The feud between the two also took the form of a Twitter (now known as X) battle.