LISBON, PORTUGAL – NOVEMBER 7: LISBON, PORTUGAL – NOVEMBER 7: Emmett Shear, Twitch, on the Contentmakers 1 stage during the second day of Web Summit 2018 at Altice Arena on November 7, 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal. In 2018, more than 70,000 participants from over 170 countries will fly to Lisbon for the Web Summit, including over 1,500 startups, 1,200 speakers and 2,600 international journalists. (Photo by Eoin Noonan /Web Summit via Getty Images)

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It’s only been a few days since Sam Altman, the former CEO of OpenAI, was shockingly ousted – and his successor has already been named.

After a weekend of rumors and speculation, Emmett Shear – former co-founder and CEO of Twitch – confirmed he will take the top job at probably the most famous AI company in the world.

In a post on

This comes after Altman, who led OpenAI in developing the hugely popular artificial intelligence generative chatbot ChatGPT, left the company following pressure from the board to resign.

The reasons for his departure are unclear, but some insiders had expressed concerns that Altman was not the right fit for the company. For example, he has a stake in another company, eyeball scanning technology company Worldcoin, and there were concerns that this may have served as a distraction.

Who is Emmett Shear?

Shear is a big name in Silicon Valley – but most people don’t know him.

Shear grew Twitch — the live-streaming site he co-founded with Justin Kan, Michael Seibel and Kyle Vogt in 2007 — from the original 24/7 broadcast of Kan’s life into a worldwide phenomenon.

Twitch was acquired by Amazon bought $1 billion in 2014 and Shear stepped down as CEO of Twitch last year.

During his time at the company, he faced tensions from streamers who believed the platform was not protecting their interests. It has been in a tense battle with rival YouTube for talent, with the latter luring several high-profile figures from Twitch with lucrative exclusive broadcast deals.

After leaving the streaming site, Shear became a partner at Y Combinator, the startup accelerator. Altman was formerly president of Y Combinator.

Before founding Twitch, Shear co-founded Kiko Calendar, a calendar app he worked on as part of the Y Combinator program in 2005.

In his post on X-Monday, Shear explained why he took the OpenAI job.

“I had recently stepped down from my role as CEO of Twitch due to the birth of my now 9-month-old son,” Shear said in the post early Monday.

“Spending time with him was every bit as rewarding as I imagined it would be, and I’m glad to avoid full-time employment.”

“I took this job because I believe OpenAI is one of the most important companies in existence today. When the board communicated the situation and asked me to take on the role, I did not make the decision lightly. Ultimately, I felt like I had a…duty to help if I could,” he added.

Why it matters

Shear’s quick appointment as CEO of OpenAI puts him at the helm of one of the most important companies in the AI ​​world.

OpenAI is known for its popular generative AI chatbot ChatGPT.

The powerful technology behind this chatbot is called a large language model or LLM. This is an AI model capable of processing and generating human language based on training from huge amounts of data.

As head of OpenAI, Shear will likely face pressure from regulators who have placed intense scrutiny on AI model companies given the risks the technology poses in terms of misinformation and potential job displacement.

Earlier this month, the UK hosted a pivotal AI security summit, bringing together major AI foundation companies to discuss some of the most pressing issues in the field.

Particularly high on the list of topics of discussion for world leaders was the “existential risk” that AI poses to humans.

Altman himself warned against this AI threat to wipe out humanity, despite being at the helm of a company working to rapidly advance technology.

Clarification: The headline of this story has been changed to reflect the fact that Shear has been named interim CEO of OpenAI.

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