A major turnaround in the history of OpenAI

A day after OpenAI announced major updates to its ChatGPT chatbot, the company said its chief scientist and co-founder was leaving.

There were signs that Ilya Sutskever would resign, six months after he helped lead the rebellion that briefly removed Sam Altman as CEO of OpenAI (he hasn’t been seen in the office since that episode). leading generative AI developer

“OpenAI wouldn’t exist without him and was certainly shaped by him,” Altman told The Times about Sutskever. It’s hard to underestimate Sutskever’s importance to OpenAI: He helped found it in 2015 along with Altman and others, including Elon Musk, and his stature as a leading neural network researcher gave the fledgling company instant credibility.

But Sutskever’s presence at OpenAI may have become unsustainable. In November, while a board member, Sutskever joined other directors in firing Altman, accusing him of not being “consistently candid in his communications.” After a number of OpenAI employees resigned in protest, he changed his mind, leaving the board and supporting Altman’s return.

After Altman’s reinstatement, Sutskever was silent publicly – although he led the creation of the so-called Super Alignment team to help ensure that OpenAI’s products did not harm humanity. (Jan Leike, who ran that team with Sutskever, also resigned on Tuesday and will be replaced by another company co-founder, John Schulman.) Meanwhile, OpenAI had already effectively elevated Jakub Pachocki to chief scientist.

Sutskever’s departure is another sign that Altman is in charge. Although OpenAI is expanding its board after last year’s turmoil, Altman remains the company’s most prominent figure. (Pachocki and Schulman are considered his allies.)

While Sutskever is concerned about AI’s apocalyptic potential, his statement on Tuesday said he was confident the company would build artificial general intelligence — AI as sophisticated as the human brain — “that is safe and beneficial.” In some ways, this is a validation of Altman’s approach to rapid innovation and commercialization.

Where will Sutskever go? “I am excited about what comes next – a project that is very meaningful to me, which I will share details about in due course,” Sutskever said in his statement, without providing details.

One possibility that some have raised is joining Musk, who is credited with recruiting Sutskever to OpenAI. Musk defended Sutskever’s initial effort to oust Altman and in December offered his former colleague a work on his start-up xAI.

That said, Sutskever co-signed an OpenAI blog post that refuted Musk’s breach of contract lawsuit against the company, suggesting a rift between the two.

The S&P 500 approaches a record high as investors await key inflation data. The Consumer Price Index report will be released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time (as will retail sales data), with economists forecasting that inflation moderated slightly last month. A more positive-than-expected report could make for a volatile trading day, given warnings from Fed Chairman Jay Powell that persistent inflation could force the central bank to keep interest rates higher for longer.

Boeing violated an agreement on the 737 Max, the Justice Department says. The agency accused the planemaker of failing to “design, implement and enforce” an ethics program to prevent and detect violations of U.S. fraud laws in its operations, a key condition of a 2021 settlement reached after two deadly plane crashes. 737 Max planes. Boeing said it believed it was complying with the agreement.

Vanguard names a former BlackRock executive as its new CEO. Salim Ramji, who ran BlackRock’s exchange-traded funds business, will succeed Tim Buckley, who is set to retire from the $9.3 trillion fund manager. Ramji was once considered a potential successor to BlackRock Chief Executive Larry Fink.

Search is a cash cow for Google’s parent company, Alphabet, helping turn the company into a $2 trillion behemoth. This domain is at the center of one of the biggest antitrust cases in a generation, and the company’s lock on the market has long plagued web publishers’ ad-focused business model.

Artificial intelligence is now being added to the mix.

Google this week will make a significant update to its $175 billion search business. It is launching a product called AI Overviews that uses generative AI to supercharge its search results. The move comes as Big Tech’s arms race to commercialize technology – especially through research – kicks into gear.

Editors are worried about the consequences. AI overviews will make AI-generated results more prominent, essentially pushing site links further down the page and potentially depriving non-Google sites of traffic. “Some people will just get beat up,” Ross Hudgens, CEO of Siege Media, a search engine optimization consulting firm, told The Washington Post.

An oft-cited statistic: tweaks like this could reduce search engine traffic by 25% by 2026.

Google downplayed the concerns. Liz Reid, vice president of research, wrote in a blog post that so far she has found that “links included in AI overviews receive the most clicks.” The company did not say, however, whether the change would translate into more traffic for publishers, notes Kevin Roose of The Times.

Does the research need new developments? A recent study by researchers at the University of Houston and Columbia University estimated that Google and Meta owe US ​​publishers up to $13.9 billion a year for the value they bring to search results.

Google rejected the study, arguing that less than 2% of all searches are news-related and that the company already sends billions of visitors to publishers’ websites.

AI has divided a media industry that is making huge cuts and job reductions. Executives and journalists fear that technology could lead to mass theft of their work. Some publishers have struck licensing deals with Big Tech, like the Associated Press did with OpenAI.

On the other hand, The New York Times and several other newspapers, including The New York Daily News and The Chicago Tribune, have sued OpenAI and Microsoft, accusing them of copyright infringement.

The president of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation can expect a rough ride on Capitol Hill on Wednesday in his first public testimony since a damning report revealed that sexual harassment and discrimination were rampant at the agency.

Martin Gruenberg rejected calls for his resignation, but the pressure is not letting up on a regulator that is also taking on big banks over a proposed new capital requirement rule.

Gruenberg has apologized, but doesn’t seem ready to fall on his sword. Cleary Gottlieb, a law firm, last week lifted the lid on a toxic culture at the agency. The company was hired following a Wall Street Journal investigation that detailed reports of senior bank examiners and other employees sending nude photos of themselves to junior female employees and taking them to brothels on work trips. Gruenberg plans to say that he took “full responsibility” and was “committed to addressing these issues,” according to prepared remarks.

Top Republicans want him out. Gruenberg, a Democrat, has led the agency for 10 of the past 13 years, and President Biden reappointed him for a second term in 2022. Rep. Patrick McHenry, a Republican and chairman of the Financial Services Committee, wants him gone.

But Representative Maxine Waters, the top Democrat on the committee, and Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, before whom Gruenberg will testify on Thursday, support him.

New banking rules could be one of the reasons for the split. The so-called final Basel III rules would force lenders with more than $100 billion in assets to set aside more capital to deal with any shocks, such as last year’s regional banking crisis. Banks say this would limit competition and harm their ability to make loans; Republicans also oppose the rule.

Gruenberg’s removal would mean that Travis Hill, a Republican and vice chairman of the FDIC, would take the position and Democrats would lose their majority.

Gruenberg can probably thank politics for keeping his job — for now. “I think it would be very difficult for the CEO of a public company to survive this scandal, especially since it appears to be quite widespread and long-lasting,” Jonathan Macey, a corporate law professor at Yale, told The Times.

The fighting that broke out during the war in Gaza forced some American companies to reevaluate their own relationships with universities and their role in a national dialogue. Some withheld donations from Ivy League schools and others attacked the curriculum.

The law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison is taking a different approach by creating a center to combat discrimination through litigation.

The Center to Combat Hate emerged in the last six months. It was officially unveiled last night at an event at Paul Weiss’ Midtown office. The center will partner with civil rights organizations and educational institutions to pursue impact litigation, lawsuits that aim to influence social policy, with a focus on civil rights.

The center will be led by two partners. Daniel Kramer became involved in civil rights litigation after his brother-in-law was killed in an attack on the Tree of Life synagogue. He was part of the team hired by the District of Columbia Attorney General to bring a civil lawsuit against the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers during the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.

Karen Dunn, chair of the firm’s litigation department, led the team of lawyers that won $25 million in a civil lawsuit filed against the promoters of the white power rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Dunn is also known in Democratic politics for being part of President Barack Obama and Vice President Kamala Harris’ debate preparation teams.

Many companies try to stay out of political fights. But Kramer was confident that Paul Weiss’s clients would not be discouraged. “We don’t have clients who are pro-hate,” Kramer told DealBook when asked if he was worried about the center being divisive.



  • TikTok creators have sued the US government over a newly enacted law that would force the divestment of the video app by its Chinese parent company. The group’s legal fees are being paid by the company. (NYT)

  • Jacob Helberg, a consultant to technology CEOs and husband of prominent investor Keith Rabois, has donated $1 million to Donald Trump’s re-election efforts. (WaPo)

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  • To celebrate Mark Zuckerberg’s birthday, the Meta CEO’s wife recreated important locations, such as his college dormitory – with the participation of Bill Gates, a fellow Harvard dropout. (@Zuck)

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