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  • Sam Altman to return as OpenAI CEO after his tumultuous ouster

Sam Altman to return as OpenAI CEO after his tumultuous ouster

Also: NVIDIA Reports Record Revenue and Earnings in Q3 Fiscal 2024


In today's newsletter, we cover a range of significant developments in the tech and AI sectors. Sam Altman has been reinstated as OpenAI's CEO shortly after his surprising removal, marking a tumultuous period for the company known for ChatGPT. This move comes along with a board reshuffle, indicating a potentially more profit-driven direction for OpenAI. In financial news, NVIDIA reports a record-breaking revenue of $18.12 billion in Q3 Fiscal 2024, driven largely by its Data Center segment and the growing importance of accelerated computing and generative AI.

A recent Oxford study raises concerns about Large Language Models like ChatGPT, highlighting their potential to disseminate false information, which poses risks to scientific integrity. In the UK, the government emphasizes AI and quantum research in its Autumn Statement, with substantial investments planned in these fields as part of a broader commitment to science and technology. Furthermore, OpenAI has expanded its voice chat feature for ChatGPT to all free users, a notable development following the company's recent leadership changes. Lastly, Menlo Ventures, a U.S. venture capital firm, has closed a $1.35 billion fund to invest in AI startups, signaling continued strong interest in the AI sector.


  • 🤯 Sam Altman to return as OpenAI CEO after his tumultuous ouster

  • 📈 NVIDIA Reports Record Revenue and Earnings in Q3 Fiscal 2024

  • 🫠 Large Language Models pose risk to science with false answers, says Oxford study

  • ♾️ AI and quantum research at centre of UK science and tech announcements

Sam Altman has returned as CEO of OpenAI only days after his unexpected ouster, amidst intense discussions about the future of the AI-focused startup. OpenAI, known for creating ChatGPT, also announced a new board, including Bret Taylor as chair and Larry Summers and Adam D'Angelo as directors. Altman's firing by the original board, which included D'Angelo, was attributed to his lack of candor and the need to protect OpenAI's mission. His return may signal a bolder, more profit-oriented direction for OpenAI, though concerns about AI safety remain paramount. The reshuffle appears to strengthen both Altman's and Microsoft's roles in OpenAI, the latter being a major backer and technology partner.

This dramatic turn of events, compared to Steve Jobs' return to Apple, followed Altman's brief exit that sparked significant unrest within OpenAI. President Greg Brockman resigned in protest, and the majority of OpenAI's staff threatened to leave unless Altman was reinstated, influenced in part by Microsoft's support for Altman. This collective pressure led to Altman's swift reappointment, underscoring his integral role and influence within the organization.

In Q3 Fiscal 2024, NVIDIA Corp reported a record revenue of $18.12 billion, a remarkable 206% increase year-over-year and a 34% rise from the previous quarter. This surge was largely driven by its Data Center segment, contributing $14.51 billion, up 279% from the previous year. NVIDIA's gross margin improved significantly, reaching 74.0% on a GAAP basis and 75.0% on a non-GAAP basis. Its GAAP net income stood at $9.24 billion, marking a 1,259% increase year-over-year, and non-GAAP net income reached $10.02 billion, a 588% increase. The company's financial stability is evident from its robust balance sheet, with cash and securities totaling $18.28 billion. Looking ahead, NVIDIA expects Q4 FY24 revenue to be around $20.00 billion, with strong gross margins. The company's growth is attributed to the shift from general-purpose to accelerated computing and generative AI, with NVIDIA's GPUs, CPUs, networking, AI foundry services, and NVIDIA AI Enterprise software being key growth drivers.

A recent study from the Oxford Internet Institute, published in Nature Human Behaviour, warns of the risks posed by Large Language Models (LLMs) like ChatGPT to science due to their potential for generating false information, or 'hallucinations'. The paper, authored by Professors Brent Mittelstadt, Chris Russell, and Sandra Wachter, points out that LLMs, designed to produce helpful and convincing responses, lack overriding guarantees of accuracy or alignment with fact. This issue is compounded by the fact that LLMs are trained on large datasets from online sources that may contain incorrect or biased information. Professor Mittelstadt highlights a key concern: people often anthropomorphize LLMs, treating them as reliable, human-like sources of information. This trust, combined with the LLMs' design to provide well-written, confident responses, can mislead users into believing the accuracy of responses that may be factually incorrect or biased.

The UK government's Autumn Statement placed significant emphasis on advancing artificial intelligence and quantum research. An additional £500 million over two years will be allocated to AI development, raising the total planned investment to over £1.5 billion. This increase addresses previous criticisms of the modest £900 million dedicated to AI in the March Budget. Furthermore, the government announced five ambitious "moonshot missions" as part of its £2.5 billion national quantum strategy, which includes developing advanced UK-based quantum computers and deploying a pioneering quantum network. The Autumn Statement also included a £121 million investment in the UK space sector and a £520 million investment in life sciences manufacturing, plus changes to research and development tax credits, indicating a broad commitment to science and technology.

🛠️ AI tools updates

OpenAI has expanded the availability of its voice chat feature for ChatGPT to all free users on mobile devices. Initially introduced in September and made available only to Plus and Enterprise subscribers, this feature allows users to engage in back-and-forth voice conversations with ChatGPT. The voice chat is powered by a text-to-speech model capable of generating human-like audio from text and a few seconds of sample speech. OpenAI collaborated with voice actors to develop this capability, offering a selection of five different voices. However, the wide release of this feature might take some time to reach all users, and it's unclear whether users must opt in to access it. The announcement of this rollout came from Greg Brockman, OpenAI's co-founder, after he had resigned as President of OpenAI amid the turmoil following the firing of CEO Sam Altman. Both Altman and Brockman were later reinstated at OpenAI.

💵 Venture Capital updates

Menlo Ventures, a Bay Area-based venture capital firm, has closed a substantial new fund of $1.35 billion, aimed at investing in AI startups. This new capital is divided between the early-stage fund Menlo XVI and the early growth fund Menlo Inflection III, along with their affiliated funds. Menlo Ventures, which has raised over $3.8 billion across eight fund groups, focuses the Menlo XVI on seed to Series A stages, while Menlo Inflection III targets Series B and beyond stages.

🫡 Meme of the day

⭐️ Generative AI image of the day