Emmett Shear: Everything to know about Open AI's new CEO

OpenAI has been at the forefront of the last year's headlines regarding artificial intelligence. After company CEO Sam Altman's surprising departure was announced last week, the world is wondering what's next for the revolutionary company.

The answer? Interim CEO Emmett Shear, one of the co-founders of Amazon-owned gaming platform Twitch.

Emmett Shear speaks onstage during TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2016

Steve Jennings&solGetty Images

Emmett Shear named interim CEO of OpenAI

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman was unceremoniously ousted from the artificial intelligence company on November 17, shocking the technology industry. The news has prompted responses from public figures and major companies alike. 

Reports surfaced indicating that several employees would stage a walkout in response to Altman's firing. Greg Brockman, OpenAI President and co-founder, also resigned in protest. Meanwhile, Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Free Report wasted no time at all scooping up both Altman and Brockman for its own AI efforts

Related: What is Sam Altman’s net worth? How does he make money?

On November 19, Emmett Shear was named interim CEO of OpenAI. Among his many tasks as the temporary head of the artificial intelligence company, Shear has said that he will launch an independent investigation into Sam Altman's firing.

Who is Emmett Shear?

Shear graduated from Yale with a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science. In his childhood, he attended private school, where he met his friend and future business partner Justin Kan.

In their later time at college, Shear and Kan created a pre-Google calendar app called Kiko, which they later sold for $250,000. 

In 2007, Emmett Shear and his friends, including Kan, launched a live-streaming 24-hour feed of Kan's life. The team called it Justin.tv, and the experiment lasted for eight months. Livestreaming a guy's life was a pretty lofty ambition, but the process showed the team the value of a live-streaming platform.

Justin.tv eventually led to Twitch, a platform that today hosts more than 140 million streamers worldwide. In 2014, Amazon purchased Twitch — where Shear was CEO until March of 2023.

Emmett Shear has opinions about artificial intelligence

For some, Shear's appointment as interim CEO is a bit of a puzzler. In the past, Shear has been very vocal about his views on artificial intelligence — and those views have stirred up controversy.

OpenAI's new interim CEO. Anyone else missing @sama already? https://t.co/kKknH6PUxj

— Noah Giansiracusa (@ProfNoahGian) November 20, 2023

When it comes to AI, Shear has also contributed his views of what is called a "probability of doom." It's easy — how likely are the chances that AI will somehow contribute to the fall of humanity? Shear himself has said that AI has up to a 50% likelihood of destroying us.

Whether this fear of technology is healthy or not has yet to be determined. Shear's time as OpenAI CEO has started with a dramatic bang — only time will tell what kind of mark he'll leave on the company. 

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