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OpenAI Implodes 🤦🏻‍♂️🔥




November 21, 2023



In this week’s What’s Appening, we cover the head-spinning story of Sam Altman’s sacking from OpenAI. The CEO and co-founder was sacked by the board on Friday, a move that led to an outcry from top employees and a near-miraculous return over the weekend. On Monday, Altman was given a new job as the lead of Microsoft’s advanced AI division. Crazy drama, yes, but it’s a series of events that raises serious questions about the future of OpenAI and, indeed, its central product, ChatGPT. Elsewhere this week, we have news on Apple adopting RCS, YouTube releasing AI music makers, and Amazon selling cars. Our Stat of the Week looks at the crazy ride of Microsoft stock in the wake of Sam Altman’s firing. And What’s dAppening has news of another CEO being shown the door, as Binance’s CEO “CZ” reportedly steps down after a deal with the Department of Justice.

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Takes 🎬

👑⛔ OpenAI – Wild Weekend of Drama as Board Sacks CEO Sam Altman

Picture Apple sacking Steve Jobs after the iPhone launched: That’s the level of shock in the tech world this week as OpenAI’s board decided to oust founder, CEO & ‘frontman’ Sam Altman. The exact reasons for the dismissal are still under wraps, but it is assumed that the board members saw Altman as an Icarus-type moving too quickly and too close to the sun on this powerful – and potentially dangerous – technology. But the drama didn’t stop there: After a huge outcry from top OpenAI employees who threatened to resign en masse, there were negotiations to bring Altman back. Then, on Monday morning it was announced that Altman (and some other OpenAI top brass, including former president Greg Brockman) would be joining Microsoft as lead of its advanced AI division. CEO Satya Nadella has been commended for his brilliant move, but with 49% stake in OpenAI and a stock price riding on their success, did he have any choice? Meanwhile, OpenAI employees and executives have broken cover and demanded the board resign. Some of the now infamous board members are saying they regret their actions. This saga is far from over, and we wouldn’t rule out Altman returning to OpenAI. But it is in turmoil, and confidence has been shattered. This is Game of Thrones meets Succession in Silicon Valley. Could ChatGPT write this one any better? #SamAltDelete Read more here

🍏🤝 iMessage – Apple Bows to Pressure and Announces RCS Support

We hoped to be celebrating this as our main story this week, as it’s some really good news! Apple has made a surprising U-turn by announcing it will support RCS (Rich Communication Services) starting in 2024. RCS is a messaging protocol that was designed to replace the clunky old SMS/MMS formats. RCS has been embraced by Samsung and Google, but not by Apple, which has its own system for iMessage. It means there are limitations when sending text messages from an Android phone to an iPhone, as Apple devices will revert to the antiquated SMS format. Tim Cook’s famous response when asked about this issue a while back was, “Buy your mom an iPhone.”. But now Apple has relented, partly due to pressure from Google and Samsung and partly due to the EU’s big regulatory hammer on antitrust issues. It’s a win for interoperability, but will non-iPhone texts still be shamefully colored green? #RCSAppleRelents Read more here.

🎶 Deep Mind and YouTube launch music generation AI, Lyria. File this under the billionth AI product that Google has overseen without (yet) releasing it to the general public. Lyria (as well as Dream Track) are new AI music-creation tools. Expect them to be controversial. Read about them here.

🚗 You will soon be able to buy a car on Amazon. The retail platform has signed a deal with Hyundai that will allow the direct purchase of cars. It will be rolled out in the US sometime in 2024. Details are here.

🤝 Spotify and Google have a secret Play Store deal. We’ve been following the Google vs. Epic Games trial so you don’t have to (😇). Anyways, details emerged that Spotify pays Google zero fees for its app store transactions. Apple, take note. Get the details here.

🧐 Stat of the Week: $50

📈📉 Microsoft – Stock Fall and Rise Shows the “Power of Sam”

For our Stat of the Week, we will return to the OpenAI story. Microsoft’s stock plummeted by more than the cost Elon Musk paid to buy Twitter last year ($44 billion) on Friday as the news of Sam Altman’s firing from OpenAI broke. Yet, as markets opened on Monday to news of Altman joining Microsoft, the stock recovered by over $50 billion and, indeed, hit record highs. That’s the power of Sam, folks. #HighsAndLows Read more here.

🕸️ What’s dAppening?

🪙⚖️ Crypto – Binance Settles with DOJ But CEO “CZ” to Step Down

Binance – the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange – had been under investigation by the Department of Justice for years now, with multiple criminal allegations, including money laundering. Just before we’ve gone to press, a settlement deal was announced. Binance will pay a huge fine of $4B while admitting to guilt on (at least some of) the charges. As part of the deal, Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao is reportedly stepping down. We’ll need to confirm the details of the settlement (this is breaking news), but it matters for web3. CZ, while not universally beloved, is one of the most prominent and influential people in crypto, and he may have more power than any other figure. Yet, this deal may offer the sector the chance for a fresh start, to move on, hopefully, with clearer rules and better leaders at the top of the pyramid. #CZStepsDown Read more here.

Meanwhile at 3Advance...

Today, we want to take this opportunity to give a big birthday shout out to Paul Swail, our Serverless Consultant. Paul has worked with 3Advance the last five years as we transitioned and refined our tech stack on AWS. He has made a major impact to the scalability of our infrastructure and the strength of our team. We highly recommend Paul as a true expert in the Serverless space. Paul helps startups and small companies make better decisions about the software they’re building, while cultivating a strong engineering culture within their team. Learn all about Paul’s offerings on his consultancy website at Happy Birthday Paul! 🎂 🥳 … And Happy Thanksgiving to the rest of you! 🦃

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