Apple’s machine learning chief resigns after being forced back into the office three days a week
A senior Apple manager quit his job in protest against staff returning to the office three days a week.
Ian Goodfellow, the director of machine learning, is said to be the longest-serving employee to quit so far as a result of the plan.
On April 11, the company began mandating one day a week in the office – a requirement that increased to two days on May 2. On May 23, all staff had to be at their desks three days a week.
An April 13-19 survey of Apple employees found that 67% said they were dissatisfied with the return-to-work policy, Fortune reported.
And Goodfellow, in his resignation letter, said he wouldn’t.
“I strongly believe that more flexibility would have been the best policy for my team,” he said, according to The edge.
Ian Goodfellow, Apple’s director of machine learning, has resigned in protest at their policies forcing people back into their offices three days a week
Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California is pictured
An Apple staffer has speculated that Goodfellow’s departure comes ahead of a potential announcement that the company will increase the in-person work requirement to up to five days a week.
“Everyone and their grandma knows that Apple is using the pilot as a springboard for 5 days back in the office,” the Apple employee wrote on Blind, which verifies employment via email addresses. of the company.
“Ian probably figured it out and left.”
The tech news site described Goodfellow as the most cited expert in machine learning – a type of artificial intelligence, which involves the study of computer algorithms that can automatically improve both through experience and through the use of data. As a result, apps become more efficient at predicting outcomes.
Goodfellow joined Apple in March 2019 and describes himself on LinkedIn as “a leader in the machine learning industry.”
According to the 9to5Mac website, the tech analyst is called “the father of General Adversarial Networks, or GANs,” a pioneering technology that can be used to generate fake media content.
His salary isn’t clear, but he’s likely to make more than $270,000 a year according to Insider and Glassdoor.com, given his executive status and prominence in the tech world.
After earning a degree in computer science from Stanford in 2009, Goodfellow studied for a doctorate in machine learning at the University of Montreal.
He worked at Google on their “Google Brain” team, then joined OpenAI, a research institute founded in 2015 by Elon Musk and several others.
Goodfellow returned to Google, then joined Apple.
At the time he joined Apple, he was 34 and described by The Verge as “young to be such an influential artificial intelligence researcher.”
They described his hiring as a coup for Apple.
He is likely to be in high demand following his resignation from the Cupertino-based company.
Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, is seen at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino
Apple CEO Tim Cook has been adamant about getting his employees back to work – unlike other Silicon Valley companies.
At the beginning of March, he wrote to the staff to tell them that he had to prepare to return.
“In the weeks and months ahead, we have the opportunity to combine the best of what we’ve learned about working remotely with the irreplaceable benefits of in-person collaboration,” Cook said in the memo, according to Bloomberg.
“It’s more important than ever that we support each other through this transition, through the challenges we face as a team and in the world.”
Cook acknowledged that not everyone was excited about the prospect.
“For many of you, I know that returning to the office represents a long-awaited step and a positive sign that we can engage more fully with the colleagues who play such an important role in our lives,” Cook said.
“For others, it can also be a troubling change.”
After the announcement, employees of the internal forums vowed to resign.
“I don’t care if I come back to work here,” an Apple employee said on the corporate bulletin board Blind, according to the New York Post.
“I’m going to go say hi and meet everyone since I haven’t since I started and then send in my resignation when I get home.
“I already know that I won’t be able to make the trip and sit still for 8 hours.”
Another Apple employee replied with a laughing emoji and wrote, “I’ll do the same.”
A third replied: ‘Hell YEAH my man let’s do this! F*** RTO.’
Twitter, on the other hand, has decided to allow staff to work remotely forever, if they wish – although that may change under Musk’s new owner.
In March, Parag Agrawal, the CEO, told staff that his predecessor Jack Dorsey’s policy of allowing staff to work remotely forever would remain.
Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal (left) and co-founder Jack Dorsey (right) both backed remote work
Elon Musk, who has struck a deal to buy Twitter, has scoffed at the company’s policy of allowing employees to work remotely forever, and some believe he may reverse it when he takes over. relay.
“As we reopen, our approach remains the same,” Agrawal said.
“The place you will feel most productive and creative is where you will work and that includes working from home full-time forever.
‘Office every day? It also works. A few days at the office, a few days at home? Sure.’
Slack followed suit, enabling permanent remote working.
At Facebook, parent company Meta announced in the summer of 2020 that all full-time employees could apply to work from home if their jobs allowed.
Facebook executives made the most of the arrangement, the Wall Street Journal reported, with chief executive Mark Zuckerberg spending a lot of time away from the Menlo Park headquarters and more time in Hawaii.
Alex Schultz, chief marketing officer, plans to move to the UK, according to a company spokesperson, while Guy Rosen, vice president of corporate integrity, will move to Israel.
Naomi Gleit, Meta’s chief product officer and one of its longest-serving employees, has moved to New York, while Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, has worked remotely from Hawaii, Los Angeles and Cape Cod, according to the newspaper.
Apple CEO Tim Cook demands all staff return to the office three days a week
Apple and Google are the outliers, with Google also requiring in March that workers must return to the office three days a week from April 4.
The offer includes the caveat that employees could take pay cuts if they leave the San Francisco Bay Area or New York for cheaper parts of the country.
An open letter signed by more than 1,050 past and present Apple employees urged company executives to rethink their plans.
“You characterized the decision for the hybrid working pilot as combining the ‘need to commune in person’ with the value of flexible working,” the letter reads.
“But in reality, he doesn’t recognize flexible working and is only driven by fear. Fear of the future of work, fear of worker autonomy, fear of losing control.
They write that working remotely allows them to effortlessly engage with colleagues in Europe and Asia, and say allowing remote working encourages diversity within the workforce. They also complain about the commute to the office and the frustration of wasted time.
“We tell all of our customers how great our products are for remote work, but we ourselves can’t use them to work remotely? ” they write.
“How can we expect our customers to take this seriously? How can we understand what remote work issues need to be addressed in our products if we don’t experience it? »
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