Emmett Shear Becomes New CEO of OpenAI, Defying Investor Call to Reinstate Sam Altman

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Emmett Shear Becomes New CEO of OpenAI, Defying Investor Call to Reinstate Sam Altman
20 Nov 2023
4 min read


News Synopsis

OpenAI's Leadership Transition: Emmett Shear's Ascension

Amid investor pressure, OpenAI's board appointed former Twitch CEO Emmett Shear as the new chief executive officer, diverging from calls to reinstate the ousted Sam Altman.

Shear's Profile: Recognizing AI's Existential Risks

Shear's selection was influenced by his prior experience at Amazon's Twitch and his adept understanding of the existential threats posed by artificial intelligence. His tenure at Twitch and expertise in managing large engineering teams underscored his suitability for leading OpenAI.

Connection to AI-Skeptical Movements

Shear's alignment with the AI-skeptical effective altruism movement, which underscores concerns regarding advanced AI's potential risks, resonated with several board members. This alignment signifies a deeper awareness of the potential hazards AI poses, aligning with the startup's vision.

OpenAI's Turbulent Transition Period

The appointment of Shear marks a significant turning point following Altman's unexpected departure, causing upheaval in Silicon Valley. Altman's exit shifted the startup's trajectory, leaving it at the center of the AI landscape's evolving dynamics.

Investors' Reservations and Board's Decision

Contrary to investor appeals led by Microsoft Corp. and Thrive Capital to reinstate Altman, the board's decision to appoint Shear stands as a firm rebuttal. This move disregarded calls for the board's resignation and Altman's reinstatement.

Leadership Search Efforts and Industry Reaction

Reports suggest that the board reached out to prominent tech industry figures in a quest to fill the leadership void post-Altman's departure. The decision to select Shear implies a deliberate choice amidst widespread industry interest and scrutiny.

Impact on OpenAI's Future Course

OpenAI's Chief Scientist Ilya Sutskever communicated internally that Altman would not return, signaling a definitive shift in the organization's leadership and future direction.

This comprehensive shift in leadership reflects OpenAI's evolving strategy amidst a transformative phase in the AI landscape.

Who is Emmett Shear?

Emmett Shear is an American technology entrepreneur and investor who is the current CEO of OpenAI, a non-profit research company focused on developing safe and beneficial artificial intelligence. He previously served as the CEO of Twitch, a popular live streaming platform, from 2011 to 2023.

Shear is known for his early work on video streaming technology, including his co-founding of Justin.tv in 2006. Justin.tv was one of the first live streaming platforms, and it eventually evolved into Twitch in 2011. Under Shear's leadership, Twitch grew to become one of the most popular live streaming platforms in the world, with over 15 million daily active users.

In addition to his work on Twitch, Shear has also been an active investor in early-stage startups. He is a partner at Y Combinator, a seed accelerator, and he has invested in a number of successful companies, including Dropbox, Airbnb, and Reddit.

Shear is a graduate of Yale University, where he studied computer science and economics. He is a recipient of the MIT Technology Review TR35 award, which recognizes innovators under the age of 35.

Some of Emmett Shear's notable accomplishments:

  • Co-founded Justin.tv, one of the first live streaming platforms

  • Led Twitch to become one of the most popular live streaming platforms in the world

  • Active investor in early-stage startups, including Dropbox, Airbnb, and Reddit

  • Recipient of the MIT Technology Review TR35 award

Shear is a respected figure in the technology industry, and he is considered to be one of the leading experts in live streaming. He is also a passionate advocate for the responsible development of artificial intelligence. Under his leadership, OpenAI is working to develop safe and beneficial AI that can be used to improve people's lives.

Relevant and Latest Facts about above news:

  • Emmett Shear's appointment as CEO of OpenAI signals a new direction for the company, moving away from Sam Altman's vision of an open-source AI research model.

  • Shear's background in technology and his understanding of the potential risks of AI are seen as assets in his new role.

  • The decision to appoint Shear comes after a period of uncertainty and internal conflict at OpenAI, following the dismissal of Sam Altman.

  • OpenAI's investors, led by Microsoft and Thrive Capital, had urged the board to reinstate Altman, but their request was ultimately denied.

  • Shear is expected to bring stability and clarity to OpenAI, as the company continues to grapple with the challenges of developing safe and beneficial AI.

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