Artificial intelligence has had ups and downs since the term was coined in 1955, with the downs including two major “AI winters.” But now AI is on a definite upswing as Moore’s Law is enabling the computational power necessary to tackle many AI problems. Consequently, AI experts are in demand.
To attract such experts, the Wall Street Journal reports, the University of Washington turned to Amazon to obtain $2 million to fund two professorships in the topic. That’s after the university had already lost seven AI-related professors to Google.
The Journal quotes Oren Etzioni, who is on leave from UW and heads up the Seattle-based Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, as saying, “There’s a massive battle under way for talent. Virtually every professor at the UW computer-science department has been called many times to work at these companies, and frankly it’s a very compelling pitch.”
The Journal reports that companies are looking not just for big names but for newly minted Ph.D.s in fields including machine learning, information science, and statistics.
It’s not all smooth sailing. “The relationship between tech giants and academia can be difficult to navigate,” writes Amir Mizroch in the Journal. “Some faculty members complain tech companies aren’t doing enough in the many collaborative efforts now under way. One big gripe: Companies aren’t willing to share the vast data they are able to collect.”