OpenAI’s Altman-firing hallucination

November 24th, 2023

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And we’re back. Happy Black Friday, FutureParty people. You may have noticed that we took a small break yesterday, but tbh, we probably should’ve skipped today, too. The tryptophan struggle is real. Anyways, how was everyone’s Turkey Day? Filled with delicious food and awkward family conversations, we hope. It wouldn’t be a proper Thanksgiving without them.

In other news… OpenAI sikes out Silicon Valley, film fans just can’t get enough of Letterboxd, and climate change takes a bite out of our food supply.

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ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

C-suite reboot // Illustration by Kate Walker

OpenAI brings back Sam Altman to save itself

The Future. OpenAI has given Silicon Valley major whiplash with the reinstatement of Sam Altman — sacrificing its safety-focused board to keep the company alive. But the issue of the original fault lines between Altman and co-founder, chief scientist, and former board member Ilya Sutskever still likely remains (even if Sutskever has recanted his opposition). The future of the public’s confidence in OpenAI may rest in whether the disagreement between business development and societal safety can be addressed… transparently.

Lol never mind
After five days that felt like five years, Sam Altman is back as CEO of OpenAI… but with some major changes at the firm.

  • The entire original board has agreed to resign (except for Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo), replaced by former Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor and former US Treasury secretary Larry Summers… with room for six additional members.

  • The compromise rids the unique non-profit/profit organization of the board members that Altman reportedly felt were “overly concerned with safety,” per WSJ, while keeping OpenAI president (and Altman-ally) Greg Brockman off the board as well.

  • Additionally, both sides have agreed to an independent investigation into why Altman was fired — something that’s vexed employees, Silicon Valley, and government regulators, especially as the original board declined to give specifics.

  • And although Microsoft offered Altman, Brockman, and anyone at OpenAI the option to start a new AI firm with its backing, CEO Satya Nadella is still a winner — he pushed for Altman to be reinstated, protected his investment, and will likely land a board seat.

OpenAI’s fortunes are already righting — investors are satisfied, clients are mostly done inquiring about taking their business to rivals, and the 95% of employees who vowed to defect if Altman wasn’t reinstated are staying put (ensuring the company doesn’t collapse). Heck, even the employee-share sale led by Thrive Capital, valuing the firm at $86 billion, is back on track

Years from now, this whole ordeal may either feel like one of ChatGPT’s infamous hallucinations… or a canary in a coal mine for OpenAI’s best intentions to police itself failing to overcome the power of ambition.

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ENTERTAINMENT

Courtesy of Letterboxd

Letterboxd programs a new generation of cinephiles

The Future. In a handful of years, film-focused social platform Letterboxd has evolved from a niche product to one of the most important platforms in Hollywood, minting itself as a taste-making service and a film-fan hub. Its success may be foundational for a new era of film clubs, like the Wes Anderson-curated Galerie, that hope to bridge digital and IRL communities. Soon, going viral on Letterboxd could even be make or break for a certain crop of movies to find success at the box office.

Watchlist flex
Letterboxd is the hottest film club in town.

  • It now has 10 million active accounts, a 5x growth since 2019 — and half of the users are under 35, with half of them between the ages 16 and 24.

  • And their movie-watching-and-listing focus isn’t primarily on new movies (only 24% of logged films annually are new) — it’s instead a haven for users to share what older films they’re checking out.

  • That’s been a major boon to the repertory cinema market, especially in LA — the Academy Museum and the American Cinematheque have both reported an uptick in ticket sales from young people due to the platform’s popularity.

  • Letterboxd has used that older-movie love as a key advertising bargaining chip, serving ads for a filmmaker’s new movie to the people who routinely watch their previous work.

Letterboxd has become so influential that it’s even minted a few, for lack of a better word, influencers, who are also some of the biggest names in moviemaking. Edgar Wright, Ava DuVernay, and Mike Flanagan are on there, driving even more people to sign up to see what they’re watching.

And the most followed account? Well, that just so happens to be the master himself, Martin Scorsese (who’s now also a reigning champ on TikTok). Being the most-followed person on any platform in your 80s is about as rare as… well… a career like Scorsese’s.

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Glow up, baby

The best time to up your skincare game? Black Friday. Why? There’s a SALE on Standard Self Care. That’s why.

Founded by two college besties, Standard Self Care’s debut lineup is a game-changer: Hydrating Omega + Cleansing Balm, Hyaluronic Daily Moisturizer, and Omega + Cell Regenerating Eye Cream.

  • Clean beauty? Check.

  • Vegan? Yup. 

  • No parabens, cruelty, fragrance, or silicones? You got it.

And here’s the kicker — they’re packing cosmeceuticals! That means their products dive deep into your skin and make wrinkles scared AF.

Elevate your glow-up game this Black Friday with science-backed, clean, and cruelty-free products. Your skin will thank you.

FOOD

Food in flames // Illustration by Kate Walker

Climate change is devouring our food supply

The Future. Despite 2023 turning out to be the hottest year on record, farmers have been able to maintain production — for now. As the global average temperature is expected to rise, extreme weather could burn or drown more of our food supply, raising the prices of what’s on our plates as a result.

Making ends meat
Vox serves up a platter of foods overcooked in 2023’s wild climate.

  • Olive oil: high temps and little rain across the Mediterranean damaged olives, making olive oil more valuable than crude oil this year. Global olive oil production is anticipated to fall by half in 2023.

  • Blueberries: Peru, the world’s largest exporter of blueberries, is in the middle of El Niño. As blueberries need cool weather to grow, half as many from Peru have made it to the US, increasing prices by 40% since July.

  • Grapes: drought, heavy rainfall, and early frost have pushed global wine production to its lowest in 60 years.

  • Rice: with heavy rains and floods damaging rice paddies in China, and hot, dry weather reducing production in other countries, rice prices in Asia have jumped to their highest levels in 15 years.

  • Beef: due to hot, muggy weather across the US, hundreds of cattle died this summer in Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska, driving up beef prices.

Romaine calm
While higher temps mean heat waves are becoming more common and intense, they also mean cold spells — which can be fatal to crops like apricots, peaches, apples, and nectarines — are less likely. Warmer winters have also extended the growing season, allowing farmers to squeeze more plantings out of their land.

Still, “the risks climate change poses to agriculture are expected to outweigh any potential benefits,” according to the Fifth National Climate Assessment released by the US government earlier this month.

It’s time to turn down the heat.

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Philanthropy3

Introducing the Umoja Foundation, where charity meets blockchain and web3 technology. Umoja is transforming NFTs into meaningful tokens for a greater purpose (which is, well, great!).

They’re a web3 initiative with a heart, helping the Dasom Ministries Orphanage in Uganda get essentials like food, medicine, clothing, and education. 

So, why’s web3 the future of charitable giving?

  • Unparalleled transparency: every transaction is permanently recorded and open to the public.

  • Ongoing impact: your contribution keeps giving through resale royalties.

  • A symbol of support: your NFT becomes a badge of good social credit.

Don’t miss Umoja’s launch on Giving Tuesday, November 28th, featuring 250 unique pieces in a total collection of 6,050 purchasable pieces exclusively on Rarible.

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Today’s email was written by David Vendrell and Kait Cunniff.
Edited by Nick Comney.
Published by Darline Salazar.

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