Earlier this month, Apple’s former director of machine learning Ian Goodfellow walked away from his job, partially due to Apple’s required return to in-person work. Goodfellow has now hooked up with another company, as he is taking a position with DeepMind, a subsidiary of Alphabet, reports Bloomberg.
DeepMind is a machine learning company Google purchased in 2014, and the company this week announced the launch of a multi-modal multi-task AI system called Gato.
It is uncertain what position Goodfellow will fill at DeepMind. However, Goodfellow worked as a Google research scientist before joining Apple. Goodfellow is known as one of the foremost machine learning researchers, says Bloomberg.
Goodfellow broke the news to his staff via email, saying his resignation was partially due to Apple’s required return to in-person work. “I believe strongly that more flexibility would have been the best policy for my team,” Goodfellow said in the email.
In March, Apple announced that employees would soon begin returning to the office, with a requirement to be there two days a week minimum by May 2. As of May 23rd, the policy will shift to a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday office schedule.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has called in-person collaboration benefits “irreplaceable” and in an email, the executive team talked about the importance of “the serendipity that comes from bumping into colleagues” during in-person work.
A group of disgruntled Apple corporate employees last week wrote an open letter to the Cupertino firm’s executive team complaining about its new work-from-home policy that allows for only two days of working from home each week.
The employees said that Apple’s reasoning for the policy doesn’t stand up, calling the policy wasteful and inflexible, leading to a “younger, whiter, more male-dominated, more neuro-normative, more able-bodied” workforce.
While Apple is working toward a return to the office for its employees, other tech firms, such as Google and Meta, are being more flexible, which could lead to other Apple employees being lured away from the Apple Park fold.