November 12,2023: OpenAI fires Sam Altman

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It was a crazy week in AI.

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SORRY, WHAT?

OpenAI fires Sam Altman

All of tech Twitter was refreshing their screens this weekend on Sam Altman's profile. Here's a quick rundown of what happened:

On Friday, the OpenAI board ousted Sam Altman as CEO and replaced him with then-CTO Mira Murati. Soon after, OpenAI President Greg Brockman resigned after hearing the news.

Speculation and conspiracy theories ran amok. Some thought that the pair might be working on a new company, while others theorized that the team had achieved AGI causing the board to get scared and pull the plug. Nobody could be sure. 

Over the weekend, resignations started pouring in from senior positions within the company. The board moved to quell this by apparently agreeing in principle to reinstate Altman as CEO. It looked like a deal was nigh. 

On Monday, that deal fell apart after the board refused to agree to the proposed terms of the reinstatement. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella then quickly announced that Altman and Brockman would join Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team. OpenAI then appointed former Twitch CEO Emmett Shear to run the company.

Since then, over 700 members of OpenAI’s staff have signed an open letter threatening to quit if the board in its entirety does not resign for its handling of the situation. The list includes Mira Murati, who was briefly interim CEO after the board sacked Altman. 

Nowit appears that the Sam x Microsoft deal is not set in stone. When asked if Sam Altman could make a return to OpenAI, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told CNBC: “That is for the OpenAI board and management and employees to choose.”  

It doesn't end there, though. According to reports, OpenAI apparently approached the Anthropic CEO about taking the top job and a potential merger. This was refused by Anthropic CEO Dario Amodei. 

Phew, what a whirlwind. 

A BIG WEEK FOR TWITCH FOUNDERS

GM’s Cruise CEO steps down 

On the same day that OpenAI announced Twitch Co-Founder Emmett Shear as the company’s new CEO, another Twitch Co-Founder, Kyle Vogt resigned. Not from OpenAI but from Cruise, the driverless car company he started and sold to General Motors. 

Vogt started Cruise around ten years ago in his garage, and so far, the company has served over 250,000 driverless journeys. It was acquired by General Motors in 2016.  

The resignation comes less than a month after the company paused operations due to an accident and the loss of permission to operate in California.  

Arguably one of the most advanced companies in the self-driving car scene, Cruise did an abrupt handbrake on October 26th after California revoked its license to operate driverless rides after an accident that same month.

WOAH!

AI David Attenborough:

Quick, pick one celebrity to narrate your life, and why is it David Attenborough? (If you picked Morgan Freeman, you’re also right.) 

Steve Jobs returns: 

Critical feedback is paramount to being a designer. Who better to give it than Steve Jobs? This AI does exactly that. Stream your design to this GPT and let the late, great Steve give you new insight.

Grammarly for ChatGPT: 

GOING DEEPER

This ML concept will bring hyper-personalization to your screen

A product called flowRL recently caught my gaze. Check out the GIF.

flowRL real time personalizeation for evey user

FlowRL is meant to help app makers improve their sales (or another conversion of their choosing) by delivering personalized UIs, tailored to each user.

This type of real-time personalization with AI is driven by a machine-learning concept called Reinforcement Learning (RL).

I spoke to the makers of flowRL, Fred Kurdov and Alexey Primechaev, to get an introductory lesson to Reinforcement Learning and to learn more about what makes flowRL so much more powerful than traditional methods of finding a better UI.

MORE NEW TOOLS

PRODUCTIVITY

Engineering Product and Development

MARKETING

AI for FUN

UNTIL NEXT TIME

Written by Aaron O’Leary with Sarah Wright.

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