Does the Appointment of this Prophet of Doom Foretell OpenAI's Future?

Emmet Shear Takes Over From Sam Altman

The co-founder and ex-CEO of Twitch TV has taken on the OpenAI seat vacated by Sam Altman and Mira Murati. Admittedly, the latter didn’t last 48 hours and Emmet’s position has been communicated to the media as an ‘interim’ appointment. Nonetheless, it’s still a statement of intent from the gang of four who ousted Altman last Friday. Or is it?

Until a rather more transparent statement is issued about the demise of Mr. Altman, the media now finds itself in something of a playground. It’s a pretty spectacular playground, too, providing plenty of thrill and spills, truth and lies, conjecture and argument. All about the hottest ticket in town: the power of AI.

One of the active ingredients in the turbulent brew around OpenAI’s management of this technology may well come from Emmet Shears’ P Doom. P Doom is a guesstimate of the likelihood of AI destroying the planet, on a scale of zero to a hundred.

Of all the people who’ve been asked to furnish their own guess, the new CEO of OpenAI has proffered 50. That equates to an equal chance of the end of us, or not. But he has also weighed in with a score of 2. That equates to a family happily going down to the beach because there’s only a 2% risk of rain, which really means no chance.

Caretaker, Risktaker or Undertaker?

It’s so crassly obvious and fence-sitting as a positioning statement. Dark Prophet on one side. Shepherd Into The LIght on the other. I’d have trusted Emmet Shear more if his P Doom prediction had been 98% on the one side and 2% on the other. Then at least we’d know we have a leader on our hands.

So here’s the prediction. He won’t last. Or OpenAI won’t last, in its current guise. So I guess OpenAI and Emmet Shear are well-suited to each other. They don’t have a clue where they’re going.

I would love to be a fly on the wall in the executive suite of Microsoft right now.

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