More on Sam Altman’s Sudden Departure from OpenAI

In the 24 hours since Sam Altman was fired from OpenAI, we’ve learned more about what is going on at the nonprofit. Let’s start with Kevin Roose, writing at The New York Times:

I’ll start by saying: I don’t know all the details about why Mr. Altman was pushed out. Neither, it seems, do OpenAI’s shellshocked employees, investors and business partners, many of whom learned of the move at the same time as the general public. In a blog post on Friday, the company said that Mr. Altman “was not consistently candid in his communications” with the board, but gave no other details.

An all-hands meeting for OpenAI employees on Friday afternoon didn’t reveal much more. Ilya Sutskever, the company’s chief scientist and a member of its board, defended the ouster, according to a person briefed on his remarks. He dismissed employees’ suggestions that pushing Mr. Altman out amounted to a “hostile takeover” and claimed it was necessary to protect OpenAI’s mission of making artificial intelligence beneficial to humanity, the person said.

Roose continues:

Brad Lightcap, an OpenAI executive, told employees on Saturday morning that the company had been talking with the board to “better understand the reason and process behind their decision,” according to an internal message I obtained.

“We can say definitively that the board’s decision was not made in response to malfeasance or anything related to our financial, business, safety or security/privacy practices,” he wrote. “This was a breakdown in communication between Sam and the board.”

It seems like what is left of the board is having second thoughts, according to Alex Heath and Nilay Patel:

The OpenAI board is in discussions with Sam Altman to return to CEO, according to multiple people familiar with the matter. One of them said Altman, who was suddenly fired by the board on Friday with no notice, is “ambivalent” about coming back and would want significant governance changes.

Altman holding talks with the company just a day after he was ousted indicates that OpenAI is in a state of free-fall without him. Hours after he was axed, Greg Brockman, OpenAI’s president and former board chairman, resigned, and the two have been talking to friends and investors about starting another company. A string of senior researchers also resigned on Friday, and people close to OpenAI say more departures are in the works.

Siri, play the theme song from Curb Your Enthusiasm.

(For what it’s worth, I think Steve Troughton-Smith’s take on all of this is exactly right.)

Sam Altman Out at OpenAI →

OpenAI has some big news this Friday afternoon:

The board of directors of OpenAI, Inc, the 501(c)(3) that acts as the overall governing body for all OpenAI activities, today announced that Sam Altman will depart as CEO and leave the board of directors. Mira Murati, the company’s chief technology officer, will serve as interim CEO, effective immediately.

A member of OpenAI’s leadership team for five years, Mira has played a critical role in OpenAI’s evolution into a global AI leader. She brings a unique skill set, understanding of the company’s values, operations, and business, and already leads the company’s research, product, and safety functions. Given her long tenure and close engagement with all aspects of the company, including her experience in AI governance and policy, the board believes she is uniquely qualified for the role and anticipates a seamless transition while it conducts a formal search for a permanent CEO.

The reason for this change is unclear, but clearly serious:

Mr. Altman’s departure follows a deliberative review process by the board, which concluded that he was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities. The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.

In addition to Altman’s firing, OpenAI’s Greg Brockman is stepping down as board chairman, but he will “remain in his role at the company, reporting to the CEO.” and has left the company.

Apple Reportedly Pausing Advertising on X →

Ina Fried at Axios:

Apple is pausing all advertising on X, the Elon Musk-owned social network, sources tell Axios.

The move follows Musk’s endorsement of antisemitic conspiracy theories as well as Apple ads reportedly being placed alongside far-right content. Apple has been a major advertiser on the social media site and its pause follows a similar move by IBM.

Musk faced backlash for endorsing an antisemitic post Wednesday, as 164 Jewish rabbis and activists upped their call to Apple, Google, Amazon and Disney to stop advertising on X, and for Apple and Google to remove it from their platforms.

Apple should make this pause a permanent break.

NASA’s Tire Assault Vehicle →

James Gilboy, writing at The Drive, about a NASA project I was not aware of until recently:

The TAV’s story begins in 1993, when NASA was upgrading the Space Shuttle’s landing gear. After gliding down through the atmosphere, the 240,000-pound Space Shuttles would land at speeds up to 288 mph, placing enormous stress on their tires. They had to endure triple the load of a Boeing 747 tire, so they weighed 230 pounds apiece according to Michelin, and were nitrogen-filled to as high as 373 psi.

That’ll make anyone who has worked with truck tires shudder—semi tires can kill you when they blow out. Bigger, more pressurized Shuttle tires were even more dangerous, bursting with force equivalent to 2.5 sticks of dynamite, according to NASA. That’s enough to injure people as far as 50 feet away, or deafen you from 100 feet. NASA’s test process of landing a modified airliner on one of the tires could make them pop on landing, but the ones that didn’t were more dangerous. Apparently, even a person’s touch could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, so to speak.

NASA tried multiple ways of popping dangerous tires, notably a bomb disposal robot, but it was imperfect. The bot was expensive, too bulky to drive easily under the test plane, and it wasn’t always available. At some point though, a NASA radio contractor by the name of David Carrott had an idea—presumably while browsing a toy catalog.

Apple Adopting RCS in 2024 →

Chance Miller has some big news over on 9to5Mac:

In a surprising move, Apple has announced today that it will adopt the RCS (Rich Communication Services) messaging standard. The feature will launch via a software update “later next year” and bring a wide range of iMessage-style features to messaging between iPhone and Android users.

Here’s a statement Apple made to the publication:

Later next year, we will be adding support for RCS Universal Profile, the standard as currently published by the GSM Association. We believe RCS Universal Profile will offer a better interoperability experience when compared to SMS or MMS. This will work alongside iMessage, which will continue to be the best and most secure messaging experience for Apple users.

RCS will replace SMS/MMS as the fallback when iMessage is not available, and is not replacing iMessage as the default protocol for messaging between users in the Apple ecosystem. It will bring a bunch of features to Green Bubble Chats, including read receipts, high-resolution media sharing and more.

Unlike iMessage, RCS does not offer end-to-end encryption of the box, but Google added it via its Messages app earlier this year. In speaking to 9to5Mac, Apple said it plans on working with the partners behind RCS to improve security across the system. According to TechRadar, “Apple says it won’t be supporting any proprietary extensions that seek to add encryption on top of RCS and hopes, instead, to work with the GSM Association to add encryption to the standard.”

This comes after pressure from Google, Samsung and others, and after Tim Cook poked fun of it in 2022. Regardless of why Apple is suddenly willing to play ball,1 this change should make cross-platform texting better for everyone involved. Hopefully Apple’s efforts will make it more secure as well.

  1. It’s almost as if regulation can be a good thing… 

Ah Yes, Branding →

Tom Warren, reporting on the news that Microsoft rebranding “Bing Chat” to bring it more in line with the company’s other AI-powered products, which wear the far superior “Copilot” name:

“Bing Chat and Bing Chat Enterprise will now simply become Copilot,” explains Colette Stallbaumer, general manager of Microsoft 365. The official name change comes just a couple of months after Microsoft picked Copilot as its branding for its chatbot inside Windows 11. At the time it wasn’t clear that the Bing Chat branding would fully disappear, but it is today.

This makes a lot of sense to me. But then Microsoft had to go Microsoft it up:

Microsoft is now pitching Copilot as the free version of its AI chatbot, with Copilot for Microsoft 365 (which used to be Microsoft 365 Copilot) as the paid option. The free version of Copilot will still be accessible in Bing and Windows, but it will also have its own dedicated domain over at — much like ChatGPT.

Business users will sign into Microsoft Copilot with an Entra ID, while consumers will need a Microsoft Account to access the free Copilot service. Microsoft Copilot is currently officially supported only in Microsoft Edge or Chrome, and on Windows or macOS.

Kbase Article of the Week: Apple Style Guide →


The Apple Style Guide provides editorial guidelines for text in Apple instructional materials, technical documentation, reference information, training programs, and user interfaces. The intent of these guidelines is to help maintain a consistent voice in Apple materials.

Writers, editors, and developers can use this document as a guide to writing style, usage, and Apple product terminology. Writers and editors should thoroughly review the guide to become familiar with the range of issues involved in creating high-quality, readable, and consistent materials. Apple developers and third-party developers should follow these guidelines for user-facing text.

Yes, I did download the PDF for archival in my DEVONthink database.