Stability AI CEO resigns to “pursue decentralized AI”

Emad Mostaque is stepping down from his role as CEO of Stability AI, the startup that helped bring Stable Diffusion to life. In a press release late on Friday night, Stability AI says Mostaque is leaving the company “to pursue decentralized AI.” Mostaque will also step down from his position on the board of directors at Stability AI.

The board has appointed two interim co-CEOs to lead Stability AI — COO Shan Shan Wong and CTO Christian Laforte — while it conducts a search for a permanent CEO. “As we search for a permanent CEO, I have full confidence that Shan Shan Wong and Christian Laforte, in their roles as interim co-CEOs, will adeptly steer the company forward in developing and commercializing industry-leading generative AI products,” says Jim O’Shaughnessy, chairman of the board at Stability AI.

That push toward developing commercialized AI products is likely a big part of why Mostaque has stepped down. “Not going to beat centralized AI with more centralized AI,” said Mostaque in a post on X, following his resignation. “It is now time to ensure AI remains open and decentralized,” says Mostaque in a separate statement.

There was a lot of drama in the AI startup world this week

Mostaque’s departure comes just days after Forbes reported that Stability AI was in trouble after other key developers resigned. Three out of the five researchers who originally created the technology behind Stable Diffusion have left the company recently. The leadership changes at Stability AI also come in the same week rival startup Inflection AI experienced what was effectively a Microsoft talent acquisition.

Google DeepMind co-founder and former Inflection AI CEO Mustafa Suleyman joined Microsoft earlier this week as the CEO of a new AI team. Microsoft also hired some key Inflection AI employees, including co-founder Karén Simonyan who is now the chief scientist of Microsoft AI. Most of Inflection’s staff is joining Microsoft AI, leaving the AI startup to pivot to enterprise offerings.

Stability’s flagship AI product, Stable Diffusion, is used by many to offer text-to-image generation AI tools. Stability released its newest model, Stable Cascade, just weeks ago as an option for researchers on GitHub. Stability AI also started offering a paid membership for commercial use of its models in December, to help fund its research.

Stability AI has popularized the stable diffusion method of AI, but has faced lawsuits around the data that Stable Diffusion is allegedly trained on. A lawsuit in the UK from Getty Images is heading to trial later this year, and it could be a big moment for the legislative framework around generative AI products.



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