OpenAI's chaotic mystery to be solved: Why was Altman kicked out?Where will "political amateur" Milley lead Argentina? Buffett India admits planting, losing 30% of the position "Indian Alipay"|Week International Finance
Every reporter: Li Menglin, Cai Ding, Tan Yuhan, every editor: Lan Suying, Sun Yuting
◎ This week, after nearly 5 days of back-and-forth reversal, OpenAI's "Gong Dou" drama finally came to an end: Altman and his ally Brockman returned to OpenAI. But the key mystery remains unsolved: Why on earth was Altman kicked out of the board?
◎On November 19, local time, Milley, the candidate of Argentina's far-right electoral coalition, was elected president. What kind of changes will this 53-year-old political madman, who has never been in power and who often "utters wild words" during the election campaign and wants to get rid of all "powerful and corrupt officials" at every turn, bring to Argentine politics?
After the OpenAI chaos: the key mystery to be solved, the board of directors "changed blood", will it set off another power struggle?
Image source: Visual China
On the afternoon of Wednesday, November 22, Beijing time, after nearly 5 days of reversal and reversal, the "Gong Dou" drama in which OpenAI CEO Altman was fired ushered in the finale: Altman and his ally Brockman returned to OpenAI.
But in this big event that shook the global technology circle, the most critical link is still unanswered, that is, why Altman was fired? OpenAI has been silent, and the few explanations that have surfaced seem to lack "real hammers", and the outside world can only wait for an independent investigation by a third-party law firm.
With the return of the two, OpenAI's board of directors has also been reorganized, and three of the four board members who made the decision to fire were eliminated, including chief scientist Ilya Sutskvi, and the new board of directors is now only three members, and the two new directors are former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and former Salesforce co-CEO Brett Taylor. The future board of directors is said to have nine people, and Microsoft, investment institutions, and Altman himself all hope to join the board, and the personnel arrangements are far from settled.
Moreover, Altman's return to OpenAI is only "the end of the initial stage", and the battle between the speed and security of AI development has not been fundamentally resolved. However, after this battle, Altman returns with the support of almost all employees, which will give commercial pragmatism the upper hand of OpenAI.
The key mystery remains unsolved
The plot of OpenAI's "Gong Dou" flipped like a roller coaster, and finally ended with the return of Altman and Brockman. When looking back at the intricacies of the plot, the most crucial factor remains shrouded in fog: what exactly was the reason for Altman's kick out?
From beginning to end, OpenAI's official statement was only one sentence, that is, Altman's "communication with the board of directors was not frank enough". Subsequently, the board clarified that Altman's dismissal was not due to "misconduct" or "security" factors, but it was still vague.
From outside observers, it is clear that there are two opposing factions within OpenAI: one is the academic school, led by chief scientist Ilya Sutskevi, who wants to prudently promote AI research to ensure its safety, and the other is the Silicon Valley entrepreneurial school represented by Altman, who wants to quickly promote the commercialization of AI. There is speculation that Altman recently launched customized GPTs and GPT Store, planned the OpenAI business ecosystem, and raised funds externally to prepare for the creation of AI chip and hardware companies, which exacerbated the anxiety of the academic school.
In the five-day chaos, the media also continued to break out new materials, trying to find out the culprit of "Gong Dou". Of the four (former) directors who ousted Altman and Brockman, Adam D'Angelo, CEO of Quora, was the first to be suspected because its chatbot platform, Poe AI, was seen as competing with OpenAI's GPTs. However, D'Angelo remains on the new board of directors, and Altman is still spending Thanksgiving with him, and the rumors seem to be self-defeating.
Later, the New York Times reported that former director Helen Toner, an executive at Georgetown University's Center for Security and Emerging Technologies, had clashed with Altman a few months after writing a paper critical of OpenAI's security measures. However, this line of thinking was quickly overshadowed by another mysterious new AI breakthrough from OpenAI, "Q*".
Sutskovi's team made a breakthrough earlier this year by using computer-generated data to train models instead of relying solely on data already available on the internet, breaking down a major barrier to developing the next generation of large models, as reported by Reuters and The Information on November 23. However, Sutskvi is cautious about the technology, and in July he set up a "super alignment" team to devote 20% of the company's computing resources to AI security. On the other hand, Jakub Pachocki and Szymon Sidor, senior researchers at OpenAI, used Sutskovy's work to build a model called "Q*" that can solve basic mathematical problems, demonstrating another milestone in AI capabilities. Brockmann has always wanted to integrate this technology into new products.
On November 16, Altman said at the APEC summit that the company had recently made a technological advancement that could be described as "lifting the veil of ignorance and pushing the frontier of discovery." This went unnoticed at the time, but the next day Altman was fired, and Brockman resigned in anger, and two R&D personnel, Pachocki and Sidor, quickly followed suit. According to Reuters, OpenAI researchers sent an internal letter warning of the dangers of the "Q*" project, which became the trigger for Altman's dismissal.
However, according to The Verge, company sources have denied that the board has received the alleged employee letters, and the dismissal of Altman has nothing to do with the progress of the study. Everything is confusing again.
As one of the conditions for Altman's return to OpenAI, both parties agreed to conduct an independent investigation into the expulsion. It is reported that the investigation will most likely be carried out by a third-party law firm. Even Microsoft's CEO publicly admitted that he didn't know the specific reason, and the outside world may have to wait for the results of the investigation.
There is a multi-party competition for the distribution of power
This "big drama" of OpenAI has been temporarily subsided with the return of Altman, Brockman and others to OpenAI and a reshuffle of the board of directors, but as observers have pointed out, this is only "the end of the beginning phase". How to rebuild OpenAI's power structure so that the company, which has a valuation of nearly $90 billion and has the potential to determine the future of humanity, is in the spotlight of all eyes.
In the new board of directors, Chief Scientist Sutzkwi and two female external independent directors have stepped down, leaving only Adam D'Angelo. Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and former Salesforce co-CEO Brett Taylor are new directors. This three-person board has a clear transitional overtone. According to The Verge, the main responsibility of the current board of directors is to select directors, and the future board of directors can have up to nine members.
As a big funder of OpenAI, Microsoft undoubtedly wants to get a seat on the board. CEO Nadella has publicly expressed his displeasure with OpenAI's mess, saying that Microsoft doesn't want to see any more "surprises" from OpenAI. According to Bloomberg, Microsoft wants to increase the level of experience of OpenAI's directors and is considering placing a Microsoft executive on the board.
In addition, according to the previous agreement, OpenAI must obtain Microsoft's consent when seeking a merger, and in this case, OpenAI sought to merge with Anthropic without notifying Microsoft. Microsoft is expected to strengthen protective provisions to enhance Microsoft's veto and right to know in certain circumstances. However, Microsoft is also wary that if it intervenes too directly with OpenAI, it may attract the intervention of US regulators.
Major OpenAI investors such as Khosla Ventures, Sequoia Capital, and Thrive Capital were also outraged by the incident, but also realized that their voice was too weak to influence the board. There is a high probability that these investors will want the new board to reflect their voices.
Under the terms of the return talks, Altman and Brockman will not return to the board, at least for the time being. However, according to The Verge, Altman himself is still seeking to return to the directorship. As the face of OpenAI, Altman deserves a seat on the board, and it remains to be seen how he will return.
The position of Sutskovi is also worth paying attention to. He led the removal of Altman, and although he changed his mind halfway through, saying that he "regretted" his participation in the board of directors, he had already lost his seat on the board.
According to Sutskovi's lawyer, he is still "employed" by OpenAI. Vinod Kosla (Khosla Ventures), who was the first to invest in OpenAI, said that he admired Sutskovy's change of heart and that it was "absolutely" worth giving him another chance. As the technological soul of OpenAI, Sutskevi's importance is unquestionable, but it is doubtful whether the rift caused by this turmoil can be turned around.
In addition to personnel arrangements, OpenAI's peculiar corporate structure may also be subject to adjustments. OpenAI itself is a non-profit organization whose goal is to implement artificial general intelligence (AGI) in a secure way that benefits all humanity equally, rather than generating profits for shareholders. The company's for-profit arm, OpenAI LP, has set a profit cap, limiting the return on investment to 100 times the original amount. In addition, once OpenAI's board of directors deems AGI to be achieved, such AGI will be excluded from Microsoft's commercial licensing contract.
"The governance structure between the nonprofit and the for-profit needs to be clarified, especially the AGI clause that would eliminate the commercial contract with Microsoft," said Gavin Baker, chief technology officer at investment firm Atreides Management. Obviously, this clause has become the focus of Microsoft's attention right now. ”
Business pragmatism prevails
A year ago, OpenAI released ChatGPT, which completely ignited the AI industry. For a time, technology giants and startups rushed to catch up and started the race of AI research and development. Will this OpenAI civil unrest give the entire industry a chance to think calmly, or will it just be a fleeting episode?
First of all, from OpenAI's point of view, the loser of this "palace fight" is the AI prudent faction. As a result of this battle, employees will only become more loyal to Altman and his business vision, and GPT-5 development, which has been slowed down before, may also be accelerated. Jathan Sadowski, a sociologist of science at Monash University in Australia, believes that OpenAI may further deviate from its original non-profit intentions and become more and more like a typical profit-oriented Silicon Valley technology company.
Across the industry, OpenAI's competitors see the chaos as a godsend to attract customers. Just on November 22, before the chaos of OpenAI was over, Anthropic, backed by Google and Amazon, launched the latest version of its chatbot, Claude 2.1.
Over the weekend, when news of Altman's firing broke, Amazon's cloud service AWS set up a working group to help Anthropic handle inquiries from OpenAI customers, and the two companies also discussed how to attract OpenAI customers such as Snap and Morgan Stanley. Google's sales team also took the opportunity to launch a marketing campaign to entice OpenAI customers to switch to its platform. In addition, Microsoft itself has become a competitor to OpenAI, and many companies are considering using Azure, Microsoft's cloud platform, because it also has OpenAI's model on it.
Finally, risk diversification is not only a consideration for corporate users, but also for investment institutions. Venture capital firms have invested more than $25 billion in AI startups this year, according to startup information platform Crunchbase.
According to The Information, investors still see OpenAI's chaos as an isolated phenomenon of one company, which will not affect their enthusiasm for investing in AI companies, but it is likely that they will be more cautious when investing in companies with similar governance structures to OpenAI, and will also encourage portfolio companies to try model providers and open source models other than OpenAI.
For all AI companies, this could herald a shift from academic idealism to a more business-oriented pragmatism. For users of this technology, if they are lucky, it may lead to more competition and more options. The Economist summed up the significance of OpenAI's chaos.
Shouting "full dollarization", sawing through the political and economic status quo with a "chainsaw", where will Milley lead Argentina?
Image source: Xinhua News Agency (photo by Luciano Torres)
"Argentina's reconstruction begins today, and Argentina's decline ends today!" Buenos Aires on November 19, local time, Javier Milei, a candidate for Argentina's far-right electoral coalition "Free Forward Party" and known as "Argentina's Trump", chanted in his victory speech.
Milley will be inaugurated as Argentina's president for a four-year term on December 10. What kind of changes will this 53-year-old political madman, who has never been in power before, who often "uttered wild words" during election campaigns and who are prone to get rid of all "powerful and corrupt officials," bring to Argentine politics? What does his victory mean for the already bad Argentine economy?
The inflation crisis spurred Milley to devote himself to economics
Born in Argentina in 1970 to a family of Hungarian descent, Milley was passionate about football at a young age, but after the 1989 Argentine inflation crisis, he decided to devote himself to economics and studied at the University of Belgrano.
After graduating from university, Milley worked in a number of financial institutions and also worked as a chief economist and economic adviser to a number of companies. At the same time, he has written a number of economic monographs, proposing radical "shock therapy" on the long-hated hyperinflation of the Argentine people, which has attracted the attention of academic circles and public opinion. After that, he was often invited to appear on television shows, sarcastically scolding politicians, elites and tycoons, attracting a large number of dissatisfied viewers, thus becoming an Argentine media celebrity.
Later, with the support of a number of behind-the-scenes entrepreneurs, Milley formed the "Free Forward Party" and was successfully elected to parliament. He seized on the strong dissatisfaction of the people at the bottom with the economic recession, high prices, rising unemployment, and the widening gap between the rich and the poor, and vigorously strengthened his image as a "savior". In response to the failure of both center-left and center-right governments to solve the long-term economic and social difficulties, Milley launched subversive proposals such as "full dollarization", "abolishing the central bank", and "privatization of social welfare", attracting the support of the "traditional middle-income group" who were strongly disillusioned with the existing system with his radical views.
Image source: X
The politician, who has a wild hairstyle similar to that of former US President Donald Trump, promised to use the so-called "economic shock therapy": "burning" the central bank, abolishing the peso, fully switching to "dollarization" and drastic spending cuts. On the campaign trail, Milley said he would "chainsaw" Argentina's political and economic realities and that only he could reform the country's economic system.
Argentina's economic problems are serious, and Milley is facing serious challenges
Behind Milley's radical policy proposals is Argentina's "devastationed" economy.
Argentina's current government has introduced a series of failed economic policies, including fiscal deficits, protectionist trade measures, high overseas debt, and the printing of more currency to service it. The South American country of 46 million people is currently in the midst of its worst economic crisis in decades, with nearly 40 percent of the country's population living in poverty.
In the presidential primaries in August this year, Milley unexpectedly defeated Fernandez. The Argentine peso lost 18% of its value on the Malaysia (MAE) market after the preliminary results, while the central bank raised interest rates by 2,100 basis points in one fell swoop, sharply raising the key rate from 97% to 118% in an effort to calm market sentiment. The depreciation of the currency led to a sharp rise in prices in August and September, with inflation reaching 21.7% in August, the highest in Argentina since the early 90s of the 20th century. On an annualized basis, inflation in Argentina has now reached 142%.
Argentina's GDP is also not optimistic amid high inflation and a sharp depreciation of the local currency. Argentina's GDP fell by 4.9% in the second quarter of this year compared to the same period last year, according to official data released on November 24. However, Argentina's GDP performance has stagnated for years: only in 2013, 2015 and 2017 has grown over the past decade, and the economy has contracted in the rest of the years.
At the same time, Argentina's central bank's total reserves have halved over the past four years, and net reserves are also in deficit. In addition, the country must repay its $44 billion debt to the International Monetary Fund.
Image source: Bloomberg
In addition, although the unemployment rate is one of the few economic indicators in Argentina to improve, this improvement has occurred in the context of unstable labor markets and lower wages due to inflation. In 2019, when President Fernández took office, 8.9% of Argentines were unemployed and actively looking for work. According to the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses of Argentina, in the second quarter of this year, this percentage fell to 6.2%. Unlike previous quarters, the decline in the unemployment rate in the second quarter was mainly due to a decrease in the number of job seekers, rather than an increase in employment.
These figures reflect the suffering and frustration of the Argentine people.
According to Western media reports, in the capital Buenos Aires, many people have had to reduce their expenses or even give up some basic living needs. In the north of Argentina, the situation is also not rosy. Argentina is one of the world's largest exporters of corn and soybeans, but farmers have not benefited from it.
Carlos grows corn and soybeans, but his income is not enough to cover the cost of production, including seeds, fertilizer and fuel. According to him, his income has halved compared to last year, while his expenses have doubled. He had to borrow money to make ends meet, but he didn't know if he would eventually be able to pay off his debts. He hoped that the government would take measures to stabilize the exchange rate and prices and protect the interests of farmers.
And this series of economic problems will be a huge challenge for Milley when he takes office next month.
The Palestinian-Israeli ceasefire agreement came into force
Hamas says it is committed to a 'comprehensive swap deal'
Image source: CCTV News screenshot
According to CCTV News on November 25, after completing the first round of detainees exchange between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), on the 24th local time, Hamas Politburo leader Ismail Haniyeh announced that the organization's goal is to reach a "comprehensive exchange agreement" and completely lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip.
At 7 a.m. local time on the 24th, the ceasefire agreement between the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and Israel in the Gaza Strip officially came into effect. After the temporary ceasefire came into effect, the Palestinian side said that planes were still circling in parts of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli side said that northern Gaza remained a war zone, and warned the Palestinian population not to return.
Palestinian sources said that Israeli warplanes have been "completely grounded" in southern Gaza, but the sound of planes can still be heard circling in the al-Nussailat refugee camp in central China. According to local media reports, after the ceasefire agreement came into effect, rockets flew in the direction of Israel, but were intercepted by the Israeli "Iron Dome" system.
So far, more than 16,200 people have died in the current round of clashes.
The world's largest custodian bank: Investors are selling dollar assets at a pace not seen in nearly 20 years
Image source: Visual China
According to a report by the Financial Times on November 24, global investors are dumping the dollar at a rate rarely seen in the past 20 years, based on the fact that the Federal Reserve has ended raising interest rates and will cut interest rates several times next year.
State Street, the world's largest custodian bank with $40 trillion in entrusted assets, revealed that global asset managers were close to selling 1.6% of their dollar positions this month, setting a new high for the speed of "selling dollar assets". Over the past 20 years, there have been six times in which the dollar position has been reduced so rapidly.
State Street added that asset managers have been selling "massively" USD assets every day since the US non-farm payrolls data fell short of expectations on November 3. Since November, the U.S. dollar index has fallen nearly 3%, on track for its biggest monthly decline since November. That decline, which continued into the beginning of the year, depreciated the dollar by nearly 10 percent.
Michael Metcalfe, chief macro strategist at State Street, explained that the flow of funds in the past two weeks points to a rethinking of the demand for the dollar, and the recent sell-off also marks the beginning of the "unusually large position overweight to the dollar". Investors may be thinking that if the Fed is really going to start cutting interest rates, then there is no need to have so many dollars on hand. Even with the sell-off since this month, the proportion of the US dollar in the hands of asset managers is still higher than that of other currencies, which also means that there is room for this round of US dollar selling to continue.
Black Friday is coming, but American retailers can't laugh: 80% of consumers are "shopping for bargains"
Image source: Photo by Xinhua News Agency reporter Zhang Fan
According to a report by the Financial Times on November 23, inflation may cast a shadow over Black Friday, the most important consumer season of the year in the United States.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) expects 182 million people to shop during Thanksgiving and Chop Monday (the first Monday after Thanksgiving), which would be 16 million more than last year and the highest level since the NRF began tracking data in 2017. Deloitte expects the average U.S. consumer to spend 13% more than last year to $567 per person during this time.
But despite this, spending growth throughout the shopping season will keep pace with inflation. S&P Global Market Intelligence expects holiday sales to grow 3.3 percent, below the pre-pandemic average of 3.9 percent and below the higher levels seen in recent years.
Ernst & Young Chief Economist Gregory Daco said in a note that despite the cooling of inflation in October, the perception of "cost fatigue" remains, which has dampened consumers' desire to spend. Cost fatigue refers to consumers' perception that everything costs more than before the pandemic.
Walmart, the largest retailer in the United States by sales, even said that prices will start to fall in the coming months. A study by global information giant McKinsey & Company found that nearly 80% of consumers want to "downgrade" their spending on holiday shopping this year, swapping their planned purchases for cheaper alternatives, or simply abandoning them.
Tesla began offering FSD v12 autonomous driving to its employees
Image source: Visual China
According to a report by foreign media Electrek on November 24, Tesla has begun to release the FSD v12 update to employees, which is obviously crucial for Tesla to achieve its self-driving goals. Musk has previously said he believes Tesla will achieve "real" self-driving capabilities by the end of the year.
The main update to FSD v12 is expected to be that the vehicle is controlled by a neural network rather than hard-coded by engineers. From computer vision to driving decisions, it's all going to be neural networks. However, drivers still need to monitor the FSD at all times and be prepared to take over. If they get into an accident while using Tesla's FSD, they are responsible for it.
Musk confirmed today on X that Tesla has started pushing the FSD v12 update to employee testers. Previously, it was only available to engineering test teams. This step is the last step before entering the customer's fleet. As a result, it looks like Tesla will indeed be able to push updates to customers by the end of the year.
However, this does not mean that Tesla will actually achieve "full self-driving", as the company has not yet said that it will be responsible for the system.
Warren Buffett "cuts meat" after losing 30%
Clearance "Indian Alipay" Paytm
Image source: Visual China
On November 24, local time, it was reported that Berkshire Hathaway had withdrawn from Paytm after selling its entire stake in Paytm for about 1.371 billion rupees ($164 million) in a block transaction.
Berkshire Hathaway's BH International Holdings has sold more than 15.6 million shares of Paytm at an average selling price of Rs 877.29 per share, exchange data showed.
According to public information, in September 2018, Berkshire Hathaway spent $300 million to acquire a 2.6% stake in Paytm, which cost about 1,279.7 rupees per share at the exchange rate at the time, and the sale price was 877.29 rupees, at which price Buffett lost 31% per share, and about 6.2 billion rupees after liquidation.