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Former TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer says AI hype is at an all-time fever pitch right now

In February 2020, as Disney’s head of streaming, Kevin Mayer, was in the line of succession for CEO. But Mayer, seen here on Sept. 29, 2022, and colleagues were stunned when Iger announced Bob Chapek would replace Iger immediately.
Bryan van der Beek | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Former TikTok CEO and Candle Media co-CEO Kevin Mayer says that the hype around artificial intelligence has reached a crescendo, with company valuations looking “astronomical.”

Speaking to CNBC’s Karen Tso at the VivaTech conference in Paris on Friday, he said that there’s underlying value in AI, as seen in previous innovations like the metaverse and Blockchain — but warned of a coming “stabilization” for valuations.

“AI provides capabilities that have not yet been seen and are very valuable. But the hype cycle has been dramatic,” Mayer said.

“I think we’ll see a peak of that, of the hype within AI, the valuations, and everyone talking about how it’s gonna disrupt every single corner of our economic universe and personal lives.”

Ever since OpenAI’s ChatGPT was first introduced to the world in November 2022, regulators and tech leaders have become increasingly worried about the risks surrounding advanced AI systems. At the same time, the space has generated buzz from investors and brought valuations significantly higher in some cases. Companies like OpenAI, Anthropic, Cohere, and Mistral have raised billions of dollars from venture capitalists — along with attention and investment from large tech firms, such as Microsoft and Amazon.

Some high-profile voices have backed the technology and its surge in interest. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is among them, telling CNBC in February that AI is not just a passing fad and is bigger than just large language models such as the ones that underlie ChatGPT. He also compared the current moment favorably to the tech bubble that emerged around the start of the 21st century.

But Mayer told CNBC Friday that it’s “vastly overhyped already.”

“Too many companies [are] bringing in too much capital at valuations that are way too astronomical. So there will be a stabilization. There’ll be a realization of the benefits of AI in many many industries, but I think the hype is at an all-time fever pitch right now.”

—CNBC’s Jesse Pound and Arjun Kharpal contributed to this story.

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