OpenAI’s wild weekend just upended the world of AI

OpenAI’s wild weekend just upended the world of AI
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OpenAI’s wild weekend just upended the world of AI
Sam Altman

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Welcome back! The holiday season is basically here, so here’s a rundown of the difference between Michaels and Hobby Lobby’s holiday decorations. 

In today’s big story, we’re looking at Sam Altman’s shocking ouster at OpenAI.

What’s on deck: 

  • Markets: Why is Warren Buffett holding on to so much cash? A wealth manager has a theory.
  • Tech: Amazon is cutting “several hundred” jobs, according to a leaked email.
  • Business: Get ready for a big Black Friday.

But first, a leadership transition.

The big story

See ya, Sam

illustration of Sam Altman in front of a futuristic city.

Roughly a year ago, Sam Altman was the CEO of the company at the center of one of the biggest tech revolutions in recent memory. Then he was ousted.

OpenAI, the hottest startup in the world thanks to its chatbot ChatGPT, fired Altman on Friday afternoon. It was a move that shocked the tech community and blindsided insiders at OpenAI and Microsoft, one of its major investors.

But according to reports over the weekend, OpenAI investors were scrambling to reinstate Altman before today’s opening bell. 

However, it seems they didn’t move fast enough. Already, Altman has been hired by Microsoft along with former OpenAI President Greg Brockman to “lead a new advanced AI research team,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced in a post on X.  

It’s just the latest in what has been one of the weirdest leadership transitions in recent memory. 

In a scathing blog post on Friday afternoon, OpenAI said Altman “was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities.”

“The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI,” the post went on to say.

The company initially named Mira Murati, OpenAI’s chief technology officer, as its interim CEO on Friday. However, OpenAI has now named its third CEO in as many days: Emmett Shear, a co-founder of the video streaming service Twitch.

So what exactly led to Altman’s shocking ouster?

That is the $90 billion (the reported valuation OpenAI sought in a recent potential share sale) question.

Plenty of rumors are swirling about the cause, from Altman reportedly trying to raise funds for a separate startup to reported disagreements between OpenAI cofounder Ilya Sutskever and Altman over the speed at which the company was pursuing AI developments. 

One widely reported internal memo indicated Altman’s removal had nothing to do with “malfeasance or anything related to our financial, business, safety or security/privacy practices.”

Regardless of the issue, the public should know about it, Business Insider’s Alistair Barr argued. Given the fact that OpenAI is working on AI that could potentially pose a danger to humanity, the public deserves to know about what, if anything, Altman wasn’t being forthcoming about, Alistair wrote.

News brief

Your Monday headline catchup

A quick recap of the top news from over the weekend:

  • Rosalynn Carter, former first lady of the United States, has died at 96
  • Argentina’s new president Javier Milei thinks adopting the US dollar can rescue its economy
  • 40 workers have been trapped inside a collapsed tunnel in India for over a week and 3 attempts to drill through the debris have failed so far
  • Emmett Shear, OpenAI’s new interim CEO, shares Sam Altman’s worry that AI could destroy all life
  • Tesla drivers told us what they think of Elon Musk supporting an antisemitic post: ‘Why can’t he shut up?’


3 things in markets

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink gestures during a panel discussion in January 2023. He is in front of a blue background.
BlackRock, led by CEO Larry Fink, is creating new roles as part of its public policy team as BlackRock and Fink personally face challenges.

  • Leaked memo: BlackRock is overhauling the team that lobbies US policymakers. The $9.1 trillion asset manager is looking to hire for two new roles handling US and state government affairs. In an internal memo, a BlackRock executive wrote the firm faces “growing pressures on our reputation,” and it must “adjust our strategy and deploy more resources to meet these challenges.” 

  • What the bond “doom loop” means for the market. The US government’s rising deficit has led market experts to speculate bond yields will rise to attract investors. In reality, high government borrowing usually means lower bond yields.

  • A theory on why Warren Buffett is hoarding cash. Berkshire Hathaway held a record $157 billion of liquid assets at last count. Lee Munson, the president and chief investor of Portfolio Wealth Advisors, believes it’s because the famed investor thinks there’s trouble ahead.

3 things in tech

Andy Jassy
Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy.

  • Leaked emails: Amazon is cutting “several hundred” jobs. The layoffs will impact Amazon’s Alexa business, including its newly launched Artificial General Intelligence team. Since late last year, the giant has cut around 27,000 jobs. 

  • Spotify is looking for a new advertising agency. The streaming company is parting ways with its ad agency of six years. The move comes amid Spotify’s moves beyond streaming, including into the audiobook space.

  • Elon Musk faces backlash for appearing to endorse an antisemitic conspiracy theory. Beyond Tesla investors and business leaders criticizing his remarks, Tesla owners are now even thinking of ditching their cars and stocks. A White House spokesperson also joined in, calling the tweet an “abhorrent promotion of Antisemitic and racist hate.”

3 things in business

Illustration of scientists looking at someone working on a screen
  • Creepy AI-driven surveillance could be infiltrating your workplace. A new genre of startups is selling the idea that emotion AI can pick up on subtle facial movements to determine what we’re feeling. Although the science behind the tech is disputed, that isn’t stopping companies from using it to spy on employees. 

  • Signs you may have a narcissistic boss and what to do about it. Some of the six signs of a narcissistic boss include being insensitive and dismissive of employees’ problems and never recognizing their employees’ accomplishments.  

  • Get ready for a blowout Black Friday. The sales might be bigger and better this year. Since shoppers are a bit tepid on spending, companies might offer steeper discounts to lure them in.

In other news

  • Millennial and Gen Z parents are struggling.

  • A timeline of Sean “Diddy” Combs and Cassie’s relationship.

  • Why one gay GOP leader is holding his fire on Mike Johnson — and wants to know if he has any gay friends.

  • “Community” is the latest trend that creator-economy startups and platforms are betting big on: “Creators are the new priests.”

  • The FDA recalled eye drops that could cause blindness, days after warning against others from Amazon. Here’s a list of 34 products you shouldn’t use.

  • Saba Capital’s 2023 woes continue. Two of its funds are down more than 10% this year.

What’s happening today

  • Apolz — President Joe Biden will pardon the National Thanksgiving Turkey. President Harry Truman pardoned the first National Thanksgiving Turkey in 1947.

  • Today also happens to be Biden’s birthday. Future and Robert F. Kennedy were also born on this day.

  • Earnings today: Zoom and other companies.

For your bookmarks

Best sci-fi movies

2001 a space odyssey

The 20 best sci-fi movies of all time, according to fans. The movie list includes multiple Star Wars films, “A Clockwork Orange,” and “Blade Runner.”

The Insider Today team: Dan DeFrancesco, senior editor and anchor, in New York City. Diamond Naga Siu, senior reporter, in San Diego. Hallam Bullock, editor, in London. Lisa Ryan, executive editor, in New York.

Read the original article on Business Insider