😺 More OpenAI drama

PLUS: why everyone's talking about "e /acc"!

Welcome, humans.

Everyone wants to know who’ll portray Sam Altman in the inevitable Netflix/HBO adoption of “Love Island—Silicon Valley”. Honestly, Sam might just fill the role himself with all that PTO he’ll get as a Microsoft PM (joking).

Here’s what you need to know about AI today:

  • Microsoft is hiring Sam and Greg to head a new AI research team.

  • >95% of OpenAI employees urged the board to resign and reinstate Sam as CEO.

  • OpenAI’s board tried to hire a number of founders as CEO and even tried to merge with Anthropic.

  • The OpenAI saga highlights a tug-of-war between safety & e/acc…

P.S. We’re off the rest of the week for Thanksgiving unless major news breaks. See y’all on Monday!

Sam & Greg are Microsoft-bound unless OpenAI’s board resigns.

Oh, how the tables turn…

Microsoft is hiring Sam Altman and Greg Brockman to lead “a new advanced AI research team”.

This is if Sam doesn’t return as OpenAI’s CEO, of course. Sam and Greg are still willing to return to OpenAI contingent on the current board's resignation.

And the pressure is ON.

>95% of OpenAI’s staff signed a letter threatening to quit if the board doesn’t step down and reinstate Sam. This now includes board member Ilya Sutskever, who has deep “regret” overthrowing Sam in the first place.

Confused? Yeah, same.

Meanwhile, some of OpenAI’s customers are eyeing alternatives like Anthropic, Microsoft, or Google, in case OpenAI's situation worsens (our advice: stay alert, but OpenAI is still operational for now).

As for the board...they've been quieter than you have to be in the movie "A Quiet Place".

It seems the board is willing to go to great lengths to prevent Sam from steering the ship. This includes:

  • Attempts to recruit former GitHub CEO Nat Friedman and Scale AI founder Alex Wang to be CEO.

  • Trying to merge OpenAI with Anthropic and persuade Anthorpic’s CEO Dario Amodei to be OpenAI’s CEO. WTF!

And, as revealed in the letter from OpenAI employees, the board is willing to allow “the company to be destroyed” if it needs to.

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The OpenAI clash is part of a larger clash over AI safety.

How is it possible that thousands of startups, investors, and nearly all of OpenAI’s employees want Sam back, but three rando board members won’t budge?

AI safety.

The board members are part of a community highly concerned about, among other outcomes, AI killing humans. They support slowing down AI development, and, in some cases, pausing AI experiments completely.

If you’ve seen the terms AI safety or decel(eration), that’s them.

This is part of the reason a group of OpenAI employees quit to start Anthropic in 2021.

On the flip side, there's a vocal group on Twitter advocating for "effective acceleration" (e/acc), aka “move fast, innovate fast, make the world better”.

The dividing line is this:

  • some “safety” people think this wave of AI really can end the world and there’s no way to manage AI past a point, so be very, very careful.

  • some “e/acc” people think going as fast as possible will save the world (or at least put it in the right hands).

Sam, Greg, and the OpenAI approach aren’t all-in on e/acc, but they learn more e/acc than the board, which partially led to the clash.

More on this coming soon. For now, check out this read for additional insights!

Around the Horn.

  • Satya Nadella told Bloomberg that Microsoft wants to work with Sam Altman “no matter what” and still has not been given a reason why Sam was fired.

  • Meta disbanded its responsible AI team but says it will continue to “invest in safe and responsible AI development”.

  • Amazon released a bunch of AI courses for technical and non-technical audiences.

  • Bard is available for teens in most countries and can help with math questions.

Tuesday Ticker.

Here are the results from last week’s poll:

We agree with [Yes]—prompting will still be important in building GPTs and generating optimal outputs.

Weigh in on what’s next for OpenAI!

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A Cat's Commentary.

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