Emmett Shear, the interim CEO of OpenAI, could be out of a job by the end of the hour, day or week because of how quickly and unexpectedly things are moving at the hottest hot mess artificial intelligence company in the world. world. But for now, he is the man at the helm after a dramatic three days in which Sam Altman was fired on Friday with CTO Mira Murati installed to replace him, many speculations about Altman. RETURN after all, only for Altman and Greg Brockman to officially jump to OpenAI investor and partner Microsoft, and Murati in – late Sunday – will be replaced by Shear.
“Today I received a call inviting me to consider a once in a lifetime opportunity: to be the interim CEO of
@OpenAI,” he said posted on X (the site formerly known as Twitter) in the wee hours of Monday morning.
Shear was previously a co-founder of Justin.tv and was CEO of his second life as Twitch until March 2023, which feels like a world away from the OpenAI drama. Now, he has a lot of work ahead of him (if he stays in the role).
Fundraising is in the works (we hear the company is looking to raise more money, with names like SoftBank in the mix as financial investors and possibly even more support from big investor Microsoft , which has already plowed billions into OpenAI, if the terms can be balanced without triggering antitrust investigations). The company is at the center of the conversation about AI regulation. There is more R&D on the roadmap. And of course there are many contracts to sign, ensuring that those who play with GPT commit to being its long-term customers.
But the first thing, the new CEO started with a business classic, a three-point plan that can be summed up what is the issue? how do you correct this? and how do you make a profit from correcting it? He needs to figure out WTF is going on and make sure it doesn’t control the rest of the company.
In his case, in the next 30 days, he said the company plans to hire an independent investigator – which means there are still unanswered questions, even within the company, about exactly what happened. The investigator “will dig into the whole process leading up to this point and do a full report.”
The plan then is to try to get but also lower the temperature of the room – which also means that there is a real push and negative reaction not only inside, but also outside. He will “talk to as many of our employees, partners, investors, and customers as possible, take good notes, and share key takeaways.”
Last but not least, he will work hard to ensure that OpenAI does not bleed into customers and partners – the core of how it generates revenues – which means that, with AI applications and the use of generative AI which is more than the early full of hype. day, a real concern. In Shear’s words, OpenAI will “transform the management and leadership team following recent departures into an effective force in driving results for our customers.”
Shear double confirmed other reports from the weekend that whatever issues led to Altman’s ouster, they weren’t related to safety, or at least not as far as running the business was concerned. “I’m not crazy enough to take this job without board support for the marketing of our amazing models,” he said.
Just a few hours
Shear said it took “some time” for him to decide to take the job when he was offered it over the weekend. As it turns out, it’s only a matter of time before people start digging into some of his spicier positions on technology and life, leading many to wonder if the OpenAI board has also spent more than a few hours on its own. make his next plan.
He didn’t support the Nazis but he wasn’t scary bring them as a better option to other risks and terminations while debating the hypothetical end-of-world scenario on Twitter. People also pick up on his conversations where he tackles other hot button issues like allowing women. Regardless of where you sit on his positions (and what his positions are) given the spotlight on OpenAI, AI ethics, and all kinds of controversy around the space… this is an interesting choice for a heir
Less controversially, but confusingly, Shear also said that he “in favor of slowing down” Advances in AI.
It’s unclear how much of an impact Shear will have on the pace of AI development at the startup he’s currently leading — and again, there’s every chance the story will change again in terms of how fast it moves.
But at the very least, his support for pulling back from breakneck development raises questions about how the company’s CEO feels about OpenAI’s current commercial strategy, as outlined last week in the first the company’s developer event when it unveiled ChatGPT’s 100 million weekly users and a raft of new ways for third parties to build their own AI applications on the OpenAI platform.
His months out from under the company’s eye at Amazon may have Shear wandering the badlands of social media, but something that could lure him to the OpenAI board anyway, if needed, is known to Shear how to play nice with corporate overlords.
To that end, he noted in his ‘hello’ post that “Our partnership with Microsoft remains strong, and my priority in the coming weeks is to ensure that we continue to serve all of our customers. “
Given how many employees are currently threatening to move to Microsoft, which owns just under half of OpenAI, it will be interesting to see how that friendly position will turn out for the company if it really believes in remaining independent of its strategic supporter.