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AI's Brain Drain on Academe

September 9, 2019
 
 

The artificial intelligence industry boom is draining academe of AI experts and professors, at the expense of graduates' start-ups, according to a new working paper. The faculty departures also reduce the early-stage funding graduates receive, says the study, describing professor-to-student knowledge transfer as the "main channel for the negative effect of the human capital reallocation for innovation." More than 150 professors have left North American universities since 2004, along with 60-some professors taking on industry jobs while continuing to teach part-time. The field of deep learning is most impacted.

Researchers also observed movement among AI professors between North American universities, but found that this kind of institutional transfer does not have a similarly adverse impact on students' eventual start-ups. Co-author Michael Gofman, an assistant professor of finance at the University of Rochester, told The New York Times that the ultimate effect of the movement is that "knowledge transfer is lost, and because of that, so is innovation." Others have argued that just because students aren't graduating to open their own businesses doesn't mean they aren't helping build the field overall.

Source: Michael Gofman

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