In the past, universities had their choice on top Artificial Intelligence (AI) engineers, but with technology giants Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Baidu expanding their AI activities to $8.5 billion in deals in 2015 alone, universities are having a hard time keeping up with the high salaries and exuberant perks that so often come with Silicon Valley.
Those students in the highest demand are experts in machine learning, tech companies have them perform many tasks such as spam-filtering, targeting better online ad placement, building self-driving cars and machines that spot diseases from images.
In the Deep Learning field, where computers gather conclusions based on data sets similar to a human brain, nearly 40 percent of papers are written by corporate-affiliated authors according to a University of Toronto study.
Graduates are drawn to large tech firms for more than just the salary and the perks — most grant them access to lots of computing power and large data sets — and the freedom from the uncertainty of securing research grants.
Another risk seen in this trend is that most large tech companies are located in the United States. Countries such as Canada, who have been focusing on AI for a long time, will be hurt if their brightest staff members and graduates relocate across the border.