Demand for AI Talent Turns into a Sports-like Drafting Frenzy

AI Talent

Tech researchers, specifically artificial intelligence ‘researchers’, better spend a little time researching SPORTS. Why? Because just like a prized football (American type) quarterback, a stellar basketball point guard or a football (world type) striker they are being recruited like crazy. Conferences are turning into “draft days” and the competition for “talent” is fierce. Firms like Intel Corp. are going all out to recruit/draft the brightest AI researchers around. So, you bright researchers, learn words like “free agent’, bidding wars and “holdout”. Gosh, soon we may look at a “Fantasy AI Researcher” league. But they will already know their own outcome.
(Bill Taylor/CEO)

“Actors in robot costumes stood in the lobby of the Westin hotel in Long Beach, California on Sunday night, “Intel Inside” stickers displayed on their foam torsos. People posed for selfies before heading to an upstairs ballroom, decorated with neon purple lighting and plush white leather furniture, for an event that was more party than technology panel discussion.

This was one of many attempts by Intel Corp. and other giant corporations to curry favor with artificial-intelligence researchers attending one of the world’s biggest AI conferences, turning what was once an academic event into a recruiting frenzy more akin to the National Football League’s draft day.

Tech companies are increasingly competing with one another, as well as banks and hedge funds, to hire experts in AI techniques like neural networking, a kind of machine learning loosely based on how the human brain works. These are the skills behind recent advances in computers’ ability to identify objects in images, translate languages, drive cars and spot financial fraud. More changes are in store for many industries and conferences like this week’s one on Neural Information Processing Systems, aka NIPS, are where companies can go to hire the talent they need to embrace their AI future.
NIPS began 30 years ago, and as recently as 2013, fewer than 2,000 people attended. This year, it attracted more than 7,500 – almost 40 percent over last year. Conference tickets sold out in 12 days compared with six weeks last year. And yet demand continues to far exceed supply, with “machine learning” job postings on recruiting site more than doubling in the past year…”

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