LISBON, PORTUGAL – NOVEMBER 07: LISBON, PORTUGAL – NOVEMBER 07: Emmett Shear, Twitch, on the Contentmakers 1 Stage during day two of Web Summit 2018 at Altice Arena on November 7, 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal. In 2018, more than 70,000 participants from more than 170 countries will travel to Lisbon for the Web Summit, including more than 1,500 startups, 1,200 speakers and 2,600 international journalists. (Photo by Eoin Noonan/Web Summit via Getty Images)
Handout | Getty Images News | Getty Images
It’s only been a few days since Sam Altman, the former CEO of OpenAI, was shockingly ousted – and his replacement has already been named.
After a weekend of rumors and speculation, Emmett Shear – former co-founder and CEO of Twitch – confirmed that he will occupy the top position in probably the most high-profile AI company in the world.
In an article on .
This comes after Altman, who led OpenAI in developing the wildly popular generative artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT, left after facing pressure from the board to resign.
The reasons for his departure are unclear, but some insiders have expressed concern that Altman is not the right person for the company. He is involved with another company, eyeball scanning technology company Worldcoin, for example, and some were concerned that this could have served as a distraction.
Who is Emmett Shear?
Shear is a big name in Silicon Valley – but to most people, he’s unknown.
Shear took Twitch – the live streaming site he co-founded with Justin Kan, Michael Seibel and Kyle Vogt in 2007 – from initially broadcasting Kan’s life 24/7 to a phenomenon global.
Twitch was acquired by Amazon for $1 billion in 2014 and Shear resigned as CEO of Twitch last year.
During his tenure at the company, he faced tension from streamers who felt the platform did not represent their interests. It found itself engaged in a tense battle with rival YouTube for talent, with the latter luring several high-profile Twitch figures with lucrative exclusive streaming deals.
After Shear left the streaming site, he became a partner at Y Combinator, the startup accelerator. Altman was previously president of Y Combinator.
Before Shear started Twitch, he was the co-founder of Kiko Calendar, a calendar app he worked on as part of the 2005 Y Combinator program.
In his Monday X article, Shear explained why he took the OpenAI job.
“I had recently resigned as CEO of Twitch due to the birth of my now 9-month-old son,” Shear said in his post Monday morning.
“Spending time with him was every bit as rewarding as I thought it would be, and I happily avoided a full-time job.”
“I accepted this position because I believe OpenAI is one of the most important companies in existence today. When the board shared the situation and asked me to take on this role, I “I didn’t take the decision lightly. Ultimately, I felt I had a duty to help if I could,” he added.
Why is this important
Shear’s rapid elevation to CEO of OpenAI today places him at the helm of one of the most important companies in the world of AI.
OpenAI is known for its popular generative AI chatbot, ChatGPT.
The powerful technology behind this chatbot is called a large language model, or LLM. It is an AI model capable of processing and generating human language, based on training from large amounts of data.
As head of OpenAI, Shear will likely face pressure from regulators who are closely scrutinizing AI model companies given the risks the technology poses around misinformation and potential job displacement.
Earlier this month, the UK hosted a crucial AI security summit, attended by leading AI founding companies, to discuss some of the most pressing issues in the field.
The “existential risk” that AI poses to humans was particularly high on the list of talking points for world leaders.