Machine learning expert Ian Goodfellow is leaving Apple

As various media reported over the weekend, machine learning expert Ian Goodfellow, who was hired by Apple just a few years ago, is leaving the company. A strong motive is said to be the iPhone manufacturer's current push for employees to be present in the office (there is also one open letter). With Goodfellow, Cupertino loses a leading young expert in deep learning and artificial intelligence. Before joining Apple, he worked on Google's "Google Brain" project as a research scientist. He is also co-author of the standard work "Deep Learning (Adaptive Computation and Machine Learning)". 

Ian Goodfellow is leaving Apple - among other things because of the office duty, which is soon to be increased to at least three days a week. Image source: Ian Goodfellow / Wikimedia under CC BY-SA 4.0 license

Ian Goodfellow is leaving Apple - among other things because of the office duty, which is soon to be increased to at least three days a week. Image source: Ian Goodfellow / Wikimedia under CC BY-SA 4.0 license

Apple pushes office hours, losing executives as a result

At Apple Park, there are currently precisely specified deadlines by which employees should return to the office. After a long phase of home office work due to the Covid-19 pandemic, at least one day a week should be worked in the office from April 11th. From May 2nd there should be at least two days of work in the office. And from May 23rd, two weeks before the upcoming one WWDC22, the minimum number of office days per week is raised to three. As already pointed out, there is some contradiction to this – remote work is seen as more flexible and productive.

Ian Goodfellow would also have liked the greater flexibility for his team, as Zoë Schiffer from The Verge shows in one Tweet on. In a letter to the workforce, the (now former) Director of Machine Learning at Apple is said to have written, among other things: "I strongly believe that more flexibility would have been the best policy for my team.Ian Goodfellow is also described in the tweet as probably Apple's most frequently cited machine learning expert. A really big loss for the company and possibly a setback for AI projects on the iPhone, iPad, Mac and Co. It will be interesting to see who will be the successor.

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1 comment

  1. Beatrice Willius says:

    I don't understand why Apple still doesn't show flexibility. Once in the home office (two days at home and two days in the office) I never wanted to go to the office for 4 days again. This was especially true at the time when I had to drive someone to the doctor several times a week because of cancer in the family.

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