5 min read

Weekend Briefing No. 25

Sam Altman fired & rehired from OpenAI as CEO, causing shockwaves in Silicon Valley. Microsoft's interest in Altman and ChatGPT technology raises questions about OpenAI's future.
Weekend Briefing No. 25
Photo by Vishnu Mohanan / Unsplash

Good Saturday morning! The big news dominating this weekend's briefing is Sam Altman, his ouster from OpenAI, and his return. Too much drama for me but it's worth noting that the alleged reason for his ouster was a new breakthrough called Q* (Q star).

Sam Altman Fired From OpenAI

The news hit Friday afternoon (November 17, 2023) that the OpenAI Board fired Sam Altman as CEO of OpenAI. According to them, the Board removed him because "...he was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities."

Whatever the reason his ouster sent shockwaves through Silicon Valley. This was so sudden that Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, was also caught off guard. Why does Microsoft care about Sam Altman? Simple, because his ChatGPT is worth billions. They're using the ChatGPT technology in their cloud offerings. On top of that, they invested billions of dollars into the technology.

OpenAI’s Sam Altman exits as CEO because ‘board no longer has confidence’ in his ability to lead
OpenAI’s board of directors said Friday that Sam Altman will step down as CEO and that technology chief Mira Murati will become interim CEO.

This does not bode well for OpenAI at all as the Board appears to have gone "rouge" for whatever reason. This sent a cascade of resignations as many senior leaders resigned in protest. There were attempts to reinstate him as CEO, but they failed What will happen now? I'm not sure but Microsoft might end up being the winner here, they snatched up Altman right away.


Microsoft bears watching here, they've made some massive strides with Azure, and I can see them cutting ties with OpenAI now that they have Sam. This could get very interesting as Generative AI continues to heat up.

Breaking news

Looks like Sam Altman is back at OpenAI as CEO! The alleged reason why he was fired was a Generative AI breakthrough project call Q* (Q star). It's a new program that can do rudimentary grade school math and takes us one step closer to Artificial General Intelligence (AGI).

That breakthrough rang the warning bells by the researchers themselves.

The researchers, in their letter to OpenAI's board, said that it may pose a threat to humanity. They also raised their concerns about the "over-commercialisation" of AI capabilities before completely understanding their consequences. - via Business Standard

We only know what's been leaked to the press but some programmers have already started back-engineering Q* and I'm sure that GitHub Gists of rudimentary implementations of it will proliferate.

Q* (Q-Star)
Q* (Q-Star) . GitHub Gist: instantly share code, notes, and snippets.

Here's to a more quieter week ahead. I don't think I can deal with this drama any longer.

Microsoft is finally making custom chips — and they’re all about AI

The AI chip war continues to heat up as Microsoft has entered the "chat." Taking aim at everybody in this space (e.g. Nvidia, Apple, Intel, AMD, etc), Microsoft has designed two chips solely for their cloud infrastructure and for training LLMs.

Microsoft is finally making custom chips — and they’re all about AI
Microsoft joins the AI hardware race with two custom silicon chips
The new Azure Maia AI chip and Azure Cobalt CPU are both built in-house at Microsoft, combined with a deep overhaul of its entire cloud server stack to optimize performance, power, and cost. “We are rethinking the cloud infrastructure for the era of AI, and literally optimizing every layer of that infrastructure,” says Borkar.

With nabbing Altman from OpenAI, making these new chips, and rethinking their entire cloud infrastructure, Microsoft has made some interesting moves and bears watching closely.

Intel versus Apple Silicon battle still alive

I posted about Intel and how they're approaching green computing in my last Weekend Briefing. Although Intel's stock price is up 60% year to date, they're considered the laggards in the general Semiconductor chip war.

Intel versus Apple Silicon battle alive despite M3 chips, claims CEO
Hopes of an Intel versus Apple Silicon battle are still alive, claims the US chipmaker’s chief exec – despite the…
Intel’s slow pace of chip development is believed to be one of the biggest reasons behind Apple’s decision to dump the US chipmaker in favor of its own ARM-based chip designs. But while the writing had been on the wall for literally years, Intel still seemed unsure how to respond.

and the best part,

Every time Intel had a target in sight, however, Apple raised the bar – first with the M1 Pro, Max, and Ultra; then with the M2 line-up; and now the M3, Pro, and Max.

While I'm not an Apple fan-boy, I do like my M1 Mac with 20 hour of battery life. Plus, Apple has a lot of GPU power with it's chips and even more so with it's new M3 chip.

Microsoft near an all time high

This week's infographic is a simple stock chart of Microsoft. I decided to post it here because of OpenAI and Sam Altman story. If you were to ask me who will win the Cloud Wars, I would say that it looks like Microsoft will. They're trading near an all-time high which means the market likes what they're doing. They have good momentum and their making all the right moves.

The R code I used to make this graphic is below:


getSymbols('MSFT', from='1900-01-01') #, 

candleChart(MSFT, subset='last 6 months', up.col='green',dn.col='red',color.vol = TRUE,theme="white") #

addSMA(n = 50, on = 1, with.col = Cl, overlay = TRUE, col = "brown")
addSMA(n = 200, on = 1, with.col = Cl, overlay = TRUE, col = "blue")

addRSI(n=14, maType="EMA", wilder=TRUE)