Morning Headlines: 11/21/23
Turmoil at OpenAI
Former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has been hired to lead Microsoft's new advanced in-house AI research unit alongside former OpenAI President Greg Brockman. The move follows a tumultuous weekend, which saw investors unsuccessfully try to reinstate Altman after his abrupt dismissal by OpenAI's board of directors Friday. More than 700 of roughly 770 OpenAI employees have demanded the resignation of the board, threatening to join Altman at Microsoft.
The board cited Altman's alleged lack of transparency as grounds for dismissal. OpenAI, initially a nonprofit, established its for-profit arm in 2019—governed by the nonprofit's board to maintain its focus on technological development for humanity. As a result, the company is majority independent, meaning the board mostly comprises directors, including Sam Altman, who don't hold direct equity in the company (see governance structure). Microsoft relies on OpenAI's technology for many of its products and remains OpenAI's largest investor with a 49% stake.
Former Twitch CEO Emmett Shear is now interim CEO of OpenAI. Mira Murati, who had been named interim CEO Friday, will reportedly stay as OpenAI's chief technology officer.
Mass 'Ndrangheta Convictions
Over 200 people associated with Italy's 'Ndrangheta organized crime network were convicted of various mafia-related crimes yesterday and sentenced to a combined 2,100 years in prison. Defendants included town mayors, lawyers, and Giancarlo Pittelli—a former lawmaker in Italy's Parliament.
The 'Ndrangheta crime syndicate is based out of Italy's southern, mountainous Calabria region—the tip of the country's so-called boot—with roughly 20,000 associates in at least 50 countries, including the US, Canada, and Australia (see history). While less known than its Sicilian counterparts famously depicted in "The Godfather" films, the network is now the most powerful in Europe. 'Ndrangheta—a word whose etymology is disputed, but could mean "virtuous ones"—controls up to 80% of Europe's cocaine trade with annual revenue estimated at $60B.
Prosecutors claim the effort won't dismantle the network but is aimed at deterring outsider compliance within the group. Read more about the influence of 'Ndrangheta on Calabria here.
First-of-its-kind study reveals new cause behind brain hemorrhages that do not involve injured blood vessels, as previously believed; research finds interactions between aged red blood cells and brain capillaries can lead to cerebral microbleeds.