The Sequence Scope: ML Talent Layoffs and Priorities Reset
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📝 Editorial: ML Talent Layoffs and Priorities Reset
We are living through one of the most impressive corrections in technology market valuations of the last two decades. Since the 2008/09 financial crises, public markets have been in a 13-year bull run that has concurred with the golden era of machine learning (ML). As a result, most tech companies hired ML talent aggressively and embarked on super-ambitious AI projects. In recent days, we have witnessed the shutdown of innovative AI startups such as Argo AI and Kittyhawk, as well as massive ML talent layoffs from companies like Stripe, Meta, SoundHound, and many others. These layoffs have, awkwardly, coincided with sizable funding rounds by ML startups in areas such as generative AI.
What’s really happening with ML talent?
The explanation is that ML focus is changing given the current market conditions. During the bull market, large tech companies tended to over-hire ML talent, and funding was available for capital-intensive ML efforts such as self-driving cars. However, the strong economic headwinds and the massive downturn in tech public equities have forced companies to reevaluate their ML priorities. With most self-driving cars or self-flying taxi startups failing to deliver on their original vision, venture capital has been fluctuating towards ML areas that can bring value in the short term, such as generative AI. At the same time, the layoffs of ML talent in tech giants have pushed talent toward VC-backed startups. The result is a rebalance in the distribution of ML talent from tech incumbents to VC-backed startups and from long-term super-ambitious projects to more practical initiatives. As world economies fight their way out of the current downturn, the talent balance will likely shift again.
🗓 Next week in TheSequence Edge:
Edge#243: we recap our longest and the most popular series about text-to-image synthesis models…