Experienced professionals in artificial intelligence (AI) are jumping ship from Meta despite being one of the leading companies in the sector. Find out more about the reasons and implications of this growing trend.

April 3, 2024

  • The AI workforce at Meta has taken a hit following several high-level departures from the tech giant.
  • Employees are facing challenges in using AI for only existing and successful products rather than experimental projects, which is driving the shift.

Considering the growing demand for AI professionals, social media giant Meta has taken the lead in wooing AI engineers with attractive packages and benefits. However, the company is struggling to hold onto its AI team, with several key members seeking opportunities in AI startups. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has personally penned emails to such professionals in addition to the large salary packages and benefits.

At least three high-level AI employees, including Director of Generative AI Devi Parikh, research scientist Abhishek Das, and Director of Engineering Erik Meijer, have left Meta in recent weeks. Erik Meijer used to lead a 50-person Probability team that worked on machine learning infrastructure. While most of the team was laid off in 2022, Meijer continued working on machine learning frameworks. However, he, too, has now quit, stating that he has an AI startup in the works despite offers from the leading companies in the sector. Parikh and Das also have similar views.

See More: Dell Trims Workforce by Approximately 6,000 Employees

Leading AI professionals increasingly opine that working on LLMs outside big tech companies is better. Meta itself has seen an exodus of more than 30% of employees in its AI projects since the start of 2023. The reasoning behind this is the need to improve access to computing resources and the unwillingness of big tech companies to invest in complex experimental projects despite having access to the billions required for training LLMs.

The departure of AI professionals from Big Tech firms is a trend that has contributed to the emergence of firms such as Anthropic, Cohere, OpenAI, and others. Such companies offer innovators the scope and pace of development that big companies cannot, owing to fears of disruption to the market and customers. Despite this disadvantage, companies like Meta, owing to their resources, will not struggle to meet their AI goals for the foreseeable future.

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Anuj Mudaliar is a content development professional with a keen interest in emerging technologies, particularly advances in AI. As a tech editor for Spiceworks, Anuj covers many topics, including cloud, cybersecurity, emerging tech innovation, AI, and hardware. When not at work, he spends his time outdoors – trekking, camping, and stargazing. He is also interested in cooking and experiencing cuisine from around the world.