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OpenAI Chat the Bed
Clippy Takes Charge, the Passing of Steel Magnolia
For the past few years, you've been warned that AI could destroy humanity. Over the weekend, you were reminded that humans are perfectly capable of screwing things up themselves. In computer keyboard lingo, just hours after the OpenAI board hit Ctrl Altman Delete, investors sent in an elite Command Z team, but they failed to Command-S the leadership, causing Sam Altman to hit the ESC key, uploading himself to Redmond where Microsoft seems on the way to hitting Command-A, Command-C, and Command-V, basically copying and pasting all of OpenAI into their company, as more than 500 OpenAI employees have threatened to hit Command-Q and follow Altman to Microsoft. Does all of this chaos at big tech's hottest company seem confusing? Don't worry, even ChatGPT is responding with the shrug emoji. Meanwhile, it's been 72 hours since OpenAI’s implosion, and there's still no Netflix series. The era of peak TV is over.
+ Plenty of tech reporters were thinking about hitting Control-Q on their careers as the glide into a nice, slow Thanksgiving week was interrupted by one of the industry's wildest and most unexpected stories. It took three top NYT (Gift Article) reporters three paragraphs just to write a lede. Microsoft Hires Sam Altman Hours After OpenAI Rejects His Return. "The board of directors of OpenAI, the high-flying artificial intelligence start-up, said in a note to employees on Sunday night that its former chief, Sam Altman, would not be returning to his job, while naming his second interim replacement in two days. / Hours later, in another head-spinning move, Microsoft said it was hiring Mr. Altman and Greg Brockman, OpenAI’s president and a company co-founder who quit in solidarity with Mr. Altman. The two men will lead an advanced research lab at Microsoft. / At OpenAI, Emmett Shear, the former chief executive of Twitch, will replace Mira Murati as interim chief, the board said. Ms. Murati, a longtime OpenAI executive, had been appointed to that role after Mr. Altman’s ouster on Friday. The board said Mr. Shear has a 'unique mix of skills, expertise and relationships that will drive OpenAI forward,' according to the memo viewed by The New York Times. At Microsoft, Satya Nadella, the tech giant’s chief executive, said that Mr. Altman would be chief executive of the new research lab, 'setting a new pace for innovation.'" (We'll need that just to keep up with this story.)
+ Karen Hao and Charlie Warzel break it down in The Atlantic (Gift Article): Inside the Chaos at OpenAI. "OpenAI was deliberately structured to resist the values that drive much of the tech industry—a relentless pursuit of scale, a build-first-ask-questions-later approach to launching consumer products. It was founded in 2015 as a nonprofit dedicated to the creation of artificial general intelligence, or AGI, that should benefit 'humanity as a whole' ... This tenuous equilibrium broke one year ago almost to the day, according to current and former employees, thanks to the release of the very thing that brought OpenAI to global prominence: ChatGPT." Now both ChatGPT and humanity have been sidelined. Clippy is back in charge.
A World Apart
"In general the decades since the collapse of the Oslo Accords in 1993 have accentuated the psychological gulf. Day-to-day interaction between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza has been drastically reduced by walls and fences in a push for physical separation. Almost forgotten are the Palestine Liberation Organization’s recognition in 1993 of Israel’s right to exist in peace, and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s determination to pursue that peace, a decision that cost him his life in 1995 at the hands of an extreme right-wing Israeli assassin who said he acted 'on the orders of God.' These were the ephemeral glimmerings of shared humanity, soon quashed." Roger Cohen in the NYT (Gift Article): Between Israelis and Palestinians, a Lethal Psychological Chasm Grows. And one of the key factors that endangers the people in the Middle East, and has become an increasingly dangerous trend here in America. "'The humanity of the other is less acknowledged for the simple reason that human contact has become rare,' said Yuval Shany, a professor of international law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Where there is contact, as between Israel’s Jewish and Palestinian populations, some measure of empathy stirs."
+ Israel’s Military Releases Video It Says Shows Hamas Tunnel at Shifa Hospital, and says CCTV footage shows some hostages being taken into the hospital. Here's the latest from CNN and BBC.
Tenants Seeking Improvements
"For Ellie, the motel — home to her mom, her grandparents and her baby sister for more than a year — remained largely a place of wonder. For Jennifer, it was more like purgatory. Each night, Jennifer said a prayer. 'Please, God, I’m begging you,' she’d whisper, pressed tight against her sleeping husband. Her daughter and granddaughters lay snug on a second bed, 2 feet away. 'Please don’t let the girls remember this.'" Tampa Bay Times: Across Tampa Bay, families cram into motels to avoid life on the street. "Not quite homeless but stuck in transition, working families like Jennifer Spencer’s are trapped in housing purgatory."
"If you’re reading this I have passed away ... I loved each and every one of you with my whole heart and I promise you, I knew how deeply I was loved." A New York City woman who died Sunday from cancer has raised enough money to erase millions of dollars in medical debtwith a posthumous plea for help.
Steel Magnolia: "Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished. She gave me wise guidance and encouragement when I needed it. As long as Rosalynn was in the world, I always knew somebody loved and supported me." Rosalynn Carter, transformative former first lady and mental health advocate, dies. From Time: Rosalynn Carter Hired a Wrongfully Convicted Murderer to Serve as White House Nanny. They Remained Lifelong Friends. And, Rosalynn Carter: a life in pictures.
+ Loco Motion: "Sometimes dubbed 'El Loco' (the madman) by his critics, Mr Milei has promised drastic changes, which include ditching the local currency, the peso, for the US dollar and 'blowing up' the central bank in order to prevent it from printing more money, which he argues is driving inflation .... The president-elect also announced that public works would be "cut down to zero" and those already in progress would be put out to tender so that 'there would be no more state spending.' On social issues, he wants to loosen gun laws, abolish abortion - which was legalised in Argentina in 2020 - and allow the sale and purchase of human organs." Javier Milei: Argentina's far-right outsider wins presidential election.
+ Cap Guns: "On one level, the story of how one bookish Beltway policy wonk wound up getting training on how to handle a pistol is a story about the Jewish world of 2023. More than other acts of violence directed at Israel, the Hamas attacks — with their door-to-door killings and echoes of pogroms — made people feel uniquely vulnerable. Even in their homes, even half a world away. But at the same time, the fact that the sense of fear and the instinct toward self-defense is happening in Washington — in a neighborhood full of folks in government, advocacy and other typically Beltway professions — is notable too." Politico Magazine: Fears stemming from the attack on Israel are only the latest case of Beltway anxiety about political violence.
+ Antisocial Media: This is quite the lede from The Hollywood Reporter: "A score of Jewish celebrities are criticizing TikTok following a surge of antisemitic rhetoric going viral on the social media app following Hamas‘ Oct. 7 terror attack on Israel, which has culminated in some young people supporting 9/11 terror leader Osama bin Laden." WaPo: Antisemitism was rising online. Then Elon Musk’s X supercharged it.
+ You've Been Junk'd: The Biden administration has made a big effort to get rid of junk fees. The companies who issue them are determined to keep kicking you in the junk. "Behind the scenes, these corporations have fought vigorously to thwart even the most basic rules that would require them to be more transparent about hidden charges." WaPo (Gift Article): From airlines to ticket sellers, companies fight U.S. to keep junk fees.
+ Hips Don't Try: Shakira reaches a deal with Spanish prosecutorson the first day of tax fraud trial.
+ Strip Show: F1’s videogame-like Las Vegas race defied critics’ complaints. The race even managed to overshadow Vegas' other big competition last week. WaPo (Gift Article): Welcome to the Housekeeping Olympics. Start your vacuums.
Bottom of the News
"'One woman said I was an abomination. Another used the F-word and said, ‘You don’t deserve to be here.’ One woman said, ‘I will haunt you until you quit.' Lenarth’s crime, in the eyes of these competitors, was owning a 'colored' Frenchie. (And yes, the language may sound disturbing—more on that in a bit.)" Vanity Fair: The French Bulldog Revolution: A Culture War Over America’s Most Popular Dog.
+ Liberty and Bell, a couple of turkeys, have been pardoned.