Meta has had to say goodbye to a lot of talent in recent weeks. It’s unclear why the workforce is turning its back on the company, but that brain drain is certainly not good news for the tech giant.
Several AI experts have left Meta. That leaves the American news site CNBC to know. The site tells of at least four prominent members of Meta AI who have resigned.
- Edward Grefenstette, a research scientist who led Meta’s efforts in a branch of AI called reinforcement learning. He left the company in February.
- heinrich kuttler, one of Meta AI’s heads of research engineering. He left in recent weeks to work at Inflection AI, a startup founded by DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman, where he had worked before moving to Meta.
- Ahmad Beirami, a research scientist. He left Meta in January to join Google.
- Douwe Kielaalso a research scientist. He left Meta after five years. He is now director of research for the artificial intelligence startup Hugging Face.
Those leading figures have published dozens of scholarly articles in world-renowned journals and made multiple breakthroughs that Meta has used to improve Facebook and Instagram. CNBC on.
That exit adds to the exits of Rob Fergus and Marc’Aurelio Ranzato. Fergus co-founded the Meta AI lab, and Ranzato served as director of scientific research in the same office. They left the company in 2020 and 2021 respectively and have both joined DeepMind.
According to anonymous sources, this brain drain is expected to continue in the coming weeks and months. However, none of the four former employees mentioned above explained why they left Mark Zuckerberg’s company.
It is said that there are multiple reasons why so many people leave the company. “Some people move to another big lab because they think their careers or research program will be better there,” a source explained. “Others leave because the salary or hiring opportunities for their team are better elsewhere. Some want to invest their time in their own start-up or start working for a smaller company. For others, the recent drop in Meta shares may have influenced their decision, but I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily the main reason.”
We should also not forget that Meta suffered serious image damage late last year following revelations by whistleblower Frances Haugen. With thousands of documents to back it up, this former employee accused the company of putting its own profits before data security and the ethics of its users.
Yann LeCun, Meta’s chief scientist and co-founder of the company’s AI lab in 2013, responded that “people have different interests and move on.”
Exodus office in London?
The brain drain above is taking place at the top of the company, but employees in other parts of the company are also quitting. According to Karl Hermann, an AI entrepreneur who previously worked at rival DeepMind, a wave of departures is also taking place at the London office. “They’ve lost most of their (top) researchers in six weeks,” he said.
Neil Lawrence, a professor of machine learning at the University of Cambridge, said he was not surprised. “Mark (Zuckerberg) is now totally committed to Meta… And they never invested well in London in the first place,” he explained.
According to Yann LeCun, this is simply not true: “There has been no discernible migration at FAIR (Facebook AI Research) London or anywhere else,” he said.
For the sake of completeness, Meta has also hired people from competitors, including DeepMind. Realizing that AI will change the world, many established companies and startups are stepping up their efforts to attract the best researchers.