June 24, 2024


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Emmett Shear, the recently appointed CEO of OpenAI, is a relatively well-known figure in Silicon Valley. Former CEO and cofounder of the live-streaming platform Twitch, Shear was named as the next CEO of OpenAI after Sam Altman was fired by the board. However, a history of questionable tweets has raised some eyebrows about his new role.

Shear has been a prominent figure in the tech industry for years, not only for his entrepreneurial accomplishments but also for his social media presence. Several tweets, dating back just a few months from today, have recently resurfaced, sparking concerns about his appointment to the helm of one of the world’s leading AI research organizations.

Among the tweets in question, Shear gleefully wades into polarizing debates and fringe conversations around rape fantasies and nazis. Here are just some of the tweets in question:

While the nature of these tweets is concerning for many, it is unclear how these past actions will impact Shear’s role at OpenAI. The company, known for its popular generative AI chatbot, ChatGPT, was led by Altman through its development and has been a pioneering force in the AI industry. The board’s decision to appoint Shear as interim CEO, despite his past social media indiscretions, is a topic of discussion among many industry insiders, raising the obvious question: Was he properly vetted?

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Shear’s appointment as interim CEO comes after a tumultuous period at OpenAI. Former CEO Sam Altman was fired by the board, which stated it “no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading” the company. Shear’s appointment was confirmed early Monday, following a weekend of rumor and wild speculation.

Shear has not addressed the controversial tweets since assuming leadership at OpenAI. But the questionable content he has shared publicly in the past could become an issue as he guides the influential artificial intelligence developer going forward.

OpenAI finds itself at an inflection point after the huge popularity of its ChatGPT chatbot launched the obscure research shop into the global spotlight. Shear’s ability to reform OpenAI’s management culture and steer its powerful AI in a responsible direction will be closely scrutinized. His past tweets raise questions about his judgment that cloud his leadership just as it begins.

Update 1:35 p.m. PT: OpenAI’s first venture capital backer Vinod Khosla has initiated a targeted social media campaign against OpenAI CEO Emmett Shear, publicly calling for his resignation.

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