UK BRAIN DRAIN

First News - - Science News -

EX­PERTS in ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence (AI) are quit­ting UK uni­ver­si­ties and join­ing tech firms in their droves, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey by the Guardian news­pa­per.

The “brain drain” is see­ing aca­demics (univer­sity teach­ers) leav­ing their posts and tak­ing their tal­ents to pri­vate com­pa­nies, where the pay is two to five times higher.

AI re­search is one of the fastest-grow­ing ar­eas of sci­ence right now. With al­go­rithms and dig­i­tal ser­vices boom­ing, com­pa­nies like Ap­ple, Google and Face­book are re­cruit­ing the bright­est ex­perts to de­velop new prod­ucts and ser­vices.

In March, a lead­ing AI ex­pert at Cam­bridge left for a job at Uber, while a pro­fes­sor of robotics from Im­pe­rial Col­lege Lon­don and an­other from Oxford Univer­sity quit to work for Google’s Deep­Mind AI project.

As uni­ver­si­ties lose out on these ex­perts, young stu­dents miss out on learn­ing from their knowl­edge.

Maja Pan­tic, a pro­fes­sor of com­put­ing, told the Guardian that the next gen­er­a­tion of aca­demics is be­ing lost. She went on to say that “in the end, so­ci­ety will suf­fer”.

Some aca­demics are call­ing for firm ac­tion to stop the drain – in­clud­ing a boost in pay.

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