Stability AI CEO Emad Mostaque steps down from his role and company board

March 23, 2024
Stability AI

Emad Mostaque, the founder and CEO of Stability AI, has resigned from his executive role and the company’s board. 

Stability AI is best known for its image generation tool Stable Diffusion, which has attracted its fair share of controversy for copyright infringement and enabling users to generate illicit images

In an interim move, Stability AI has named Shan Shan Wong and Christian Laforte, the company’s COO and CTO, respectively, as co-CEOs. This was disclosed in a recent company blog post.

Mostaque said he believes in the potential of decentralized AI to combat leading centralized models dominating the industry, from Google’s Gemini to OpenAI’s GPT-3.5/4 and Anthropic’s Claude. 

Through a series of posts on the social media platform X, Mostaque expressed his views on the limitations of centralized AI, critiquing the operational models of leading AI startups.

“You’re not going to beat centralized AI with more centralized AI,” Mostaque stated, advocating for transparent and distributed governance in AI technology.

“I am proud two years after bringing on our first developer to have led Stability to hundreds of millions of downloads and the best models across modalities. I believe strongly in Stability AI’s mission and feel the company is in capable hands. It is now time to ensure AI remains open and decentralised,” wrote Mostaque.

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang also recently called for countries to build sovereign AI, and numerous researchers, like Meta’s Yann LeCun, view open-source AI as a means of re-balancing power.

Mostaque, who controlled the majority of Stability’s shares, said, “The concentration of power in AI is bad for us all. I decided to step down to fix this at Stability & elsewhere.”

Stability AI’s financial trajectory has been a point of discussion, with reports from Bloomberg in October 2023 indicating the company’s monthly expenditure was around $8 million. Later attempts to secure new funding at a $4 billion valuation reportedly fell through

Controversies at Stability AI, sometimes dubbed “Instability AI,” have been frequent. They’ve faced legal challenges, including a lawsuit from co-founder Cyrus Hodes who accused Mostaque of fraudulent behavior. 

Copyright lawsuits, including from Getty Images and several artists, also put the company’s practices under the microscope.

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Sam Jeans

Sam is a science and technology writer who has worked in various AI startups. When he’s not writing, he can be found reading medical journals or digging through boxes of vinyl records.


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