When Nilay Patel was four years old, he drove a Chrysler into a small pond because he was trying to learn how the gearshift worked. Years later, he became a technology journalist. He has thus far remained dry.
Nilay was a co-founder of The Verge and the site's first Managing Editor before taking over as Editor-in-Chief. He also was the acting Managing Editor for the launch of Vox.com. Before that, he spent four years as Managing Editor of Engadget, where he drew upon his background as a lawyer to report and explain complex legal situations in everyday terminology — a niche that led to SAY Media naming Nilay one of 10 "voices that matter" in technology journalism.
Nilay co-hosts the Webby Award-winning Vergecast podcast, and has appeared on CNN, CNN International, NPR, Fox News, MSNBC, Sky News, NHK, G4TV, TWiT, and many others. Nilay received an AB in Political Science from the University of Chicago in 2003 and his J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 2006.
As you may know, we’re chasing down a hot rumor that the Cybertruck wiper is actually two wiper blades in a trenchcoat. Reader Glenn tips us to this TikTok showing a very muddy Cybertruck parked at a hotel; there is a clear line of mud on the windshield where the wiper did not make solid contact. Evidence of the two blade theory, or no? In any case, the passenger was forced to do some manual wiping, which is very funny.
Keep sending in these tips! The Verge is America’s leading source for Cybertruck wiper news, and it’s all thanks to readers like you.
Here’s a brief update on where things stand with OpenAI today, after an explosive weekend and a very confusing Monday which saw the news of Sam Altman going to Microsoft slowly fade into Satya Nadella not seeming so sure that would happen.
— We’re told Altman still wants to return to OpenAI and continues to negotiate with the board today.
— As Bloomberg reported late last night, new interim CEO Emmett Shear is involved in mediating these negotiations, creating the frankly unprecedented situation where (1) the interim CEO who replaced (2) the interim CEO who replaced Sam and who (3) got replaced for trying to get Sam back is now (4) deeply involved in a new effort to get Sam back. Read it through a few times, it’s fine. It doesn’t make any sense to anyone else either.
— Microsoft’s offer to hire everyone who threatened to quit is still on the table, and has now been made officially public, after being noted in the employee walkout letter yesterday. In general, Microsoft appears to have receded from the situation; Nadella remains in the mix but has now made several media appearances reiterating that he’ll will work with Altman and OpenAI “irrespective of configuration,” which frankly sounds like he’s talking about the benefits of plug and play device drivers in Windows. We all fall back to what we know.
— We are told everyone, including the board, is trying to be reasonable, and put OpenAI back together.
We’ll keep posting updates as we have them; at the very least we can say the overall temperature has dropped, but it’s not clear any of this results in an actual return.
Bloomberg is now reporting that interim CEO Mira Murati is trying to re-hire Altman and former president Greg Brockman in some sort of role, all while the board is trying to replace her as CEO. It is a mess — and keep in mind that the clock is ticking for Microsoft, which definitely wants to have a clear and convincing statement for its shareholders when the markets open tomorrow morning. Vibe check: bad.
Even as Murati works to bring Altman and Brockman back, members of the OpenAI board are also seeking to hire their own CEO to succeed Altman, a person with direct knowledge of the search said. Picking a different CEO would come as a stinging rebuke to investors, led by Microsoft Corp. and Thrive Capital, who have urged the board to step down and want Altman reinstated.
The NYT has been updating its piece on the OpenAI negotiations all day — the paper of record has a reporter staked out in front of the building, so we know what delivery is being ordered. It is very funny that a bunch of people concerned with existential AI risk are ordering McDs!
As deliberations continued on Sunday, executives at OpenAI called in resources. At 12:45 p.m., a deliveryman with a dozen drinks from the Boba Guys chain showed up on a motorbike outside with two bags. Another deliveryman followed later with a half dozen more drinks.
At 6:15 p.m., a food delivery driver pulled up at the rear entrance and jumped out with four bags from McDonald’s. Two employees from OpenAI loaded them on carts and wheeled them inside for what looked to be a long night.
[The New York Times]
Sam Altman is back in the building at OpenAI for the final stretch of negotiations for his potential return as CEO after being unceremoniously fired by the four-member board on Friday. A source close to Altman says he has once again set a 5PM PT deadline to resolve the situation, as he did yesterday — that big show of heart emoji support last night was meant to demonstrate how many people would leave for a new company with him.
One big condition of Altman’s return is that the existing board (who fired him!) has to step down. The existing board has to make some hard decisions about who will replace them, which appears to be the sticking point. Microsoft’s Satya Nadella is reportedly mediating the discussion between Altman, former OpenAI president Greg Brockman, and the four current board members as they attempt to select a new board. We’re also told Microsoft would very much like to wrap this up before the stock market opens tomorrow morning. (Microsoft declined to comment; OpenAI’s communications team isn’t returning calls.)
Today’s 5PM deadline is meant to be a hard deadline, per the source close to Altman. If a deal isn’t reached, things will take “a different path,” we’re told, and extend through tomorrow and perhaps much longer.
Updates to come!
We’d heard there was a threat of mass resignations at 5PM PT. Then OpenAI employees began mass-quote-tweeting Sam Altman saying he loved them with heart emojis, leading everyone to assume he indeed was coming back as CEO. But it’s still not a done deal, and we still don’t know exactly what all that meant. What we do know is that talks appear to be done for today, so we’re going to bed, Las Vegas Grand Prix be damned. We’ll try this all again tomorrow.
Big update to our scoop from earlier: a key 5PM PT deadline for the OpenAI board to strike a deal to resign and Sam Altman to return has passed, and mass resignations at OpenAI may come soon, unless this thing gets done.