Emmett Shear is the CEO of OpenAI, the third time around AI in three days and the fate of AI research in Silicon Valley
OpenAI has a third CEO in three days: Shear. After a shock firing of former CEO Sam Altman on Friday, Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear is officially taking over as interim CEO of OpenAI. The Information first revealed Shear’s appointment on Sunday night. The official announcement comes just an hour after Microsoft confirmed it had hired Sam Altman and OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman to form a new advanced AI research team.
An attempt to bring in a new CEO and replace the board ran into trouble because of the role existing directors play in choosing replacements, according to a report.
Chaos at OpenAI has its root in an unusual corporate structure designed to protect humanity against rogue AI—some investors had expressed fears it could weaken the company.
When Sam Altman, Elon Musk, and other investors formed the startup behind ChatGPT as a US not-for-profit organization in 2015, Altman told Vanity Fair he had very little experience with nonprofits. “So I’m just not sure how it’s going to go,” he said.
Openai Board Chairman Mira Murati to OpenAI Chairman and CEO Mira Shear, and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
The stability and success of Openai are too important to allow turmoil to disrupt them. “I will endeavor to address the key concerns as well, although in many cases I believe it may take longer than a month to achieve true progress.”
Shear resigned as Twitch CEO earlier this year, after co-founding the Justin.tv platform that eventually became Twitch. He is taking over the position of OpenAI interim CEO at a challenging time for the company. Mira Murati became the interim CEO of OpenAI after Sam Altman was fired. There was a show of support for Altman by many employees when the OpenAI board contemplated bringing him back.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella made the announcement that Altman, 38, would be coming on board in a post on X sent just before 3 a.m. eastern time Monday.
Nadella also said Greg Brockman, the former president of OpenAI who quit in protest after Altman’s sudden departure, would be joining the new AI division at Microsoft alongside Altman.
OpenAI, founded by Altman, Elon Musk and others about eight years ago as a nonprofit AI research lab, released ChatGPT last year, setting the pace for the entire tech industry’s focus on a sophisticated type of artificial intelligence known as generative AI.
The chief scientist of the company and a member of the board were among the signees of the letter.
Nadela appeared to leave the door open to any OpenAI employees eager to jump ship, adding of Altman’s new Microsoft subsidiary: “We look forward to moving quickly to provide them with the resources needed for their success.”
Justin.tv: A Tribute to the Amazon CEO or the Expansion of the OpenAI Board? A Conversation with Justin Shear
Shear was one of four cofounders of Justin.tv, launched in 2006. In June 2011, the site moved its gaming content to its new Twitch platform, which soon became the go-to place for video game streaming, with millions of monthly streamers. Amazon bought the company for $1 billion in 2014.
They claim that the former employee portrayed Shear as a character who spoke from the heart, sometimes without thinking. The former employee recalls being in a presentation where Shear was, they claim, playing Hearthstone on his phone rather than paying attention to the discussion.
Since the OpenAI board announced the appointment of Shear, several of his old posts on X have been shared on social media. In one, he discussed the prevalence of rape fantasies; in another, he offers that while “Nazis were very evil,” there are scenarios worse than a Nazi takeover. Shear did not respond to the request for comment.