Good morning. It’s a new week and it’s time to get stuck into the tech news.
1. Sam Altman dumped by OpenAI
News broke over the weekend that CEO Sam Altman had been dumped by ChatGPT-maker OpenAI, as per a surprise statement from the company’s board. “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 company said. “The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.” The company is reportedly considering replacing Altman with… Sam Altman.
2. Tesla investors call for Musk to be ousted
Speaking of tech industry CEO drama, investors in Tesla are calling for Elon Musk to be ousted as the company’s leader. Tesla shareholders condemned Elon Musk’s alleged antisemitic behaviour on his own social media platform, X, and other media outlets. Some investors are publicly saying he should be suspended, according to a Bloomberg report. “There’s no excuse for the spreading of hatred by any CEO of any publicly traded company,” said Jerry Braakman, CIO at First American Trust, which held about 16,000 Tesla shares as of Sept. 30. “Tesla’s board should place him on leave for a month or two.”
3. SpaceX rocket clears crucial hurdles in second flight test
SpaceX’s latest test flight of the Starship rocket lasted for around eight minutes—twice the length of the previous test. Both the booster and the Starship upper stage were lost (SpaceX claims the self-destruct system blew it up in-air), but SpaceX achieved many key milestones during the flight test. The upgraded launch mount appeared to work as intended, with the booster not spewing as much dust and debris as was seen during the inaugural launch on April 20. This marked the second flight of Starship—the world’s most powerful rocket, albeit a rocket not yet certified for real-world missions. The company will likely schedule a third test flight, with parameters to be determined after a thorough review of this mission’s results. The next step is to nail stage separation, but other future milestones include a launch to orbit, reentry from orbit, and vertical landings of both the booster and the upper stage.
4. Microplastics could be affecting the weather
New research this week is the latest to show that microplastics have polluted just about everywhere on Earth. Scientists discovered plastic particles in cloud samples collected from atop a mountain in Eastern China. The team also found evidence from lab experiments that these microplastics could potentially affect cloud formation and the weather, though more data will be needed to understand exactly how.
5. Meta shuts down its responsible AI team
As reported by Mashable (via The Information), Meta has disbanded its responsible AI team. An internal memo viewed by The Information outlined that the team would be moved to supporting generative AI development. The team was originally founded in 2019, with the hope of enhancing Meta’s AI efforts by ensuring a diverse data set and by cutting down on moderation issues. A report from Business Insider earlier this year indicated that the team was gutted amid restructuring, so this development isn’t too surprising.
BONUS ITEM: This goddamn orb.
The level of dystopia I’m ok with is directly proportionate to the size and visibility of the Sphere pic.twitter.com/oHw57ozVDk— Populism Updates (@PopulismUpdates) November 19, 2023
Have a lovely week.
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