OpenAI appoints Emmett Shear as interim CEO

OpenAI appoints Emmett Shear as interim CEO

Sam Altman, the face of the artificial intelligence revolution, will not return as CEO of OpenAI despite talks to renegotiate his return on Sunday, two people familiar with the matter said, the latest development in one of Silicon Valley’s most dramatic boardroom showdowns.

Emmett Shear, co-founder of Twitch, the popular video game streaming platform acquired by Amazon in 2014, will be named interim CEO of the company, replacing Mira Moratti, who was named interim CEO in a management shakeup on Friday, one of the people said. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post. Interim CEO Patty Stonecipher sits on Amazon’s board.)

The latest development came after a chaotic weekend, as OpenAI investors and employees, caught off-guard by the board’s move to fire Altman on Friday, mounted a campaign to reinstate him. In its vague statement explaining the rationale for his ouster, OpenAI said Altman had not always been “candid” in his communications with the board. This news has reverberated in Silicon Valley and in the halls of government, where Altman has become one of the major influencers on AI policy and regulation.

“It’s definitely crazy,” the person said, describing the latest development. “So much value and mission has been destroyed overnight.”

On Sunday, Altman went to OpenAI’s office to discuss his return to the company, posting on X, formerly Twitter, a photo of himself with a visitor badge and writing, “First and last time wearing one of these.” Altman, the board and investors including Microsoft and venture capital firms have discussed bringing him back and replacing the current board with new directors, names floating around including Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky and former Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, according to the Wall Street Journal.

But by late Sunday evening, those talks had collapsed and the board announced Scheer’s appointment as interim chief staff officer. An OpenAI spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment. Scheer and Altman did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesperson for Microsoft, a major investor in OpenAI, said the company remains committed to its partnership with OpenAI despite Altman’s departure.

Altman’s ouster highlights a major rift in the world of artificial intelligence, where some people believe the technology should be rushed forward with minimal government regulation in order to make money and provide useful tools for people, while others worry that artificial intelligence may outperform humans. almost. Intelligence and the coup against its creators. OpenAI was initially founded to provide a counterforce to the power of big tech companies in artificial intelligence, but as the company received more investment money and began developing consumer products, some in the industry said it abandoned its original mission.

“Frankly, it’s heartbreaking to see such a world-changing organization disintegrate,” said Sarah Gu, venture capitalist and founder of Conviction. “The former standard-bearer of the AI ​​revolution, the irreplaceable giant in the room, is at risk.” The new leadership will have to make every effort to build customer and employee confidence. This completely changes the strategic landscape and encourages all other players.

In an interview with technology broadcaster Logan Bartlett, published in June, Scheer said he was generally optimistic about technology, and that regulators should be careful not to hurt innovation when creating technological guardrails. At the same time, he said that a super-AI taking over the world and wiping out human civilization is a real danger. On the podcast, Scheer said he believes the chances of such an event occurring are between 2 percent and 50 percent.

“It’s like a bomb that destroys the universe,” Scheer said of a super-intelligent hypothetical AI that is beyond human control. “It’s so bad that global warming isn’t a problem.”

Cher stepped down as Twitch CEO in February and was hired as a part-time corporate advisor at Y Combinator, an influential startup incubator in San Francisco that Altman himself headed from 2014 to 2019.

In recent days, Altman’s ouster and OpenAI’s boardroom drama have shocked the tech industry. Under Altman’s leadership, the company has gone from a nonprofit research laboratory to a money-making company that has become one of the most powerful players in the field of artificial intelligence. After it launched its chatbot, ChatGPT, about a year ago, it ignited an AI arms race with big tech giants like Google and Microsoft, which is an investor in OpenAI.

Since Altman’s firing, a number of OpenAI executives and employees have resigned or indicated their intention to leave in solidarity. OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman resigned from the company in protest, explaining that he and Altman were shocked by the board’s move. On Saturday, OpenAI executives told workers they were also surprised by the news and assured them the ouster had nothing to do with financial or privacy violations. By Saturday afternoon, investors and employees who backed Altman launched a campaign to reinstate him.

Several employees posted their support for Altman on X, formerly known as Twitter. Prominent venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, who was an early investor in OpenAI, said he wants Altman back as CEO but will also “support him in whatever he does next.”

As news began to emerge regarding the circumstances surrounding Altman’s ouster, Silicon Valley circles turned angry at OpenAI’s board.

“What happened at OpenAI today is a boardroom coup the likes of which we haven’t seen since 1985 when Apple’s then-board fired Steve Jobs,” longtime venture capitalist Ron Conway said on X. “This is irresponsible, and doesn’t do the right thing by Sam and Greg (Brockman) or all the creators at OpenAI.”

Alice Crites contributed to this report

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *