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What Is an AI CEO? Ask Mobeon's Mark Alamares, Who Just Hired One

Mark Alamares of Mobeon, one of the streaming and virtual production industry's most innovative media companies, is stepping aside as CEO and handing the company's operational and strategic planning reins to Chingiss Tron, a virtual executive who may be the streaming industry's first AI CEO. In this interview with Streaming Media editor Steve Nathans-Kelly, Mark (who will stay on Mobeon's COO) explains what having an AI CEO is all about, and why he believes other media companies will see the strategic and operational benefits and follow Mobeon down this path in the years to come.

With the generative AI chatbot ChatGPT bringing AI into cultural conversation as never before, professionals in many sectors gnashing their teeth and hitting the panic button amid fears that AI will take their jobs. Mark Alamares, founder of Burbank-based livestreaming and virtual production innovator is going in a different direction, handing over his job voluntarily. While insisting that Mobeon will continue to have a strong human element (including Alamares' own creative leadership), and maintaining that (despite the timing of the announcement) this is no April Fool's Joke, Mobeon announced in an AI-generated press release earlier this week that appointment of a new CEO: an AI-powered ChatGPT-based virtual CEO the company is calling Chinggis Tron.

Mobeon is not the first company to go this route--Chinese gaming company Net Dragon Websoft named an AI CEO last year--but they appear to be the first in the streaming industry.

"We're very serious about implementing AI for our business at Mobeon," Alamares said in a March 31 interview with Streaming Media, "because we feel like it's going to impact all levels of our business, from sales and marketing to customer service, to creationn to production management." Going forward, Mobeon will also draw on AI's capabilities for insight into "business strategy, creative strategy, accounting, and legal. And this is just a start," he continues. Soon, he predicts, "It's going to be commonplace. It will be the future, and that's something that we're very invested in--how to do things better, faster, quicker, more efficiently, and ultimately more profitably."

Alamares believes that AI's ability to harness resources faster and more broadly than humans will enable the company to see opportunities that may have been on their "blind side" before adopting AI in this way. "It could create new opportunities for us that we may have been, you know that what might have been you know that we couldn't see because it was on, you know on our blind side. So that's where AI, he says, "can elevate human thought, because it has a lot of data to pull from. It's going to help to explore some of the blind spots that humans may have in regards to business models or ideas or opportunities. I feel it's much more of an enhancing tool, and it increase productivity and creativity by 10 times, a hundred times. It's still as yet unexplored, but why not get in on early and see what the potential is?"

Alamares sees potential for adopting this approach for media companies of all stripes, but believes it's particularly well-suited to Mobeon as a service-oriented business looking to move in other directions. "It allows us to look outside of that and become much more of an intellectual property company as opposed to just being a vendor for other companies," he explains. "It also allows us to think creatively and to think on how we could use these tools to create much more value for other companies."

Alamares will remain in a leadership role at Mobeon even as he cedes the CEO title to AI. Sharing those responsibilities in a now-hybrid c-suite begs the inevitable question: If the AI CEO and the human COO disagree or reach different conclusions in their strategic thinking, decision-making, or aspects of company direction, who wins the argument? 

"We are still utilizing humans to provide some of the initial data sets, but we will actually defer to Chinggis Tron in an event that there's a certain decision and honor that decision as long as it meets certain criteria. One is on ethics. Two is that it obviously it can't hurt any individual or companies. And then three is to also provide a positive purpose in its decision. If it falls within those lines, and we feel that it's to the best interest of the company, we will defer to the AI."

Still he hastens to add, "We do have certain guidelines in regards to this, because we cannot let it run amok in some of the decision-making processes. The technology is still somewhat in its infancy, but as it evolves, we will evolve as a company and we [as humans] are there to manage that."

AI has already made inroads into the streaming world, of course, primarily in the areas of workflow automation, camera tech, and other process elements. Alamares says that Mobeon has already incorporated much of that tech into its creative process and will continue to involve it more as it adds AI to the executive and strategic sides of the business. "For our company to thrive, we have to look at all aspects where AI can enhance and amplify our company. So anything that where we could be much more efficient and also more nimble in making decisions, I think that that's a plus. It encompasses both the management, the company strategy, as well as the creative strategy, and the production side as well. We're going to apply it in every aspect of our business."

And where does Alamares' see his own role and Chinggis Tron's a few years down the line? "My goal is to eventually have the AI CEO run the company so I can spend more time not running the company, thinking of more things creatively, and also eventually retire and having the AI CEO run the business and generate the profits." Alamares adds that he believes "a lot of companies would be at a disadvantage" to ignore the many ways AI can support and even lead their business, "because the competitive dynamics are going to change. It's going to affect a lot of people in the creative industries. But at the same time, I see AI impacting some of the C-level executives. It's going across all strata of employees in a company. If companies don't adopt AI," he concludes, "it's going to put them at a disadvantage in the future."

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