AI Scientists Jumping From Big Tech to Startups

Amid changing career goals and reimagined work priorities, a number of artificial intelligence professionals are leaving their gigs at Big Tech firms to start their own AI-driven startups, trying to take advantage before the moment is gone. Four well-funded new startups—Inflection, Cohere, Adept, and Anthropic—have poached AI scientists from the likes of Alphabet, Meta, OpenAI, and DeepMind. Venture capital firms are fueling the migration with billions of dollars raised in an effort to strike gold by hiring high-talent employees and giving them substantial raises.

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The new machine-learning model, known as a “transformer,” allows AI systems to be scaled at a level previously unheard of, and savvy startups are building new products and services with this novel architecture. AI data scientists who have previously worked on projects like OpenAI’s GPT-3 and Dalle-E, Google’s Bert, and DeepMind’s AlphaFold and AlphaStar, are now finding lucrative positions outside of Big Tech.

For one, Inflection AI is led by DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman, who recently left his VP of AI Product Management and AI Policy role at Alphabet, joined by LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and ex-DeepMind researcher Karen Simonyan. As AI becomes ever more prominent—and lucrative—expect more juggernaut companies to lose specialist talents searching for their own shares of the virtual gold rush.