With how popular AI technology is, one would expect people to flock to major AI companies in droves. However, while that may be the case, there are many people leaving large AI companies for very unsettling reasons. An ex-Google employee named Scott Jensen left Google saying that the AI projects the company is working on were poorly motivated.

This latest resignation could be the sign of something bigger going on in the AI industry. Just recently, a researcher at OpenAI, Jan Leike, left the company. In a long post, he mentioned that safety has been taking a back seat to “shiny products,” and that can prove to be a major issue. This is an example of the growing tension at OpenAI that may boil over into something far worse.

An ex-Google employee says that the company’s AI projects are poorly motivated

Jenson is a user interface designer and strategic planner with more than 30 years of experience. He worked at Google for more than 6 years, but he officially left the company last month. In a short and sweet post on LinkedIn, he talked a bit about some of the stuff that Google doesn’t tell us during its events.

He spoke about the overall culture surrounding Google’s AI efforts, and how they’re poorly motivated. “The ‘AI Projects’ I was working on were poorly motivated and driven by this mindless panic…” This statement makes sense, as AI technology isn’t only a major trend in tech, it’s potentially a very lucrative market. As such, major companies have turned it into an extremely competitive market.

Companies like Google, Microsoft, Meta, Apple, Amazon, Etc. are all pouring billions of dollars into AI so that they don’t get left behind. However, this is a very unhealthy mentality to have.  Many people interested in AI want to bring the technology to the forefront in order to advance human achievement. Major companies are more occupied with creating AI services, cramming them into their products, and capitalizing on subscription service income.

As such, the dream of AI has become a bit perverted by major corporations. “The vision is that there will be a Tony [Stark-like] Jarvis assistant in your phone that locks you into their ecosystem so hard that you’ll never leave,” Jenson said.

This has happened before

In the LinkedIn post, Jensen also mentioned that the same thing happened before with Google+ 13 years ago. Apparently, Google had a rushed mentality to get a social media service out in order to compete with Facebook.

This rushed mentality within the AI industry has led to many people leaving their posts. Companies are prioritizing profits, speed, and productivity and deprioritizing safety, work environment, and worker health. As AI development continues to grow, we’re going to see more stories like these pop-up.

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