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Early this morning, a number of foreign media and domestic media reported that Li Feifei was about to leave Google and return to Stanford. He only served as an advisor.
This news has stirred up a lot of turmoil in the AI circle, but in fact, Li Feifei did not take the initiative to “leave” Google, but ended his academic vacation at Stanford.
Of course, the end of this holiday will have a more or less impact on Li Feifei’s daily work in Google, but according to Google’s official statement, this is a common phenomenon in Google, don’t worry too much.
As early as January 2017, when Li Feifei just announced that she joined Google for 2 months, she led the Stanford Vision Lab to explain her on Stanford on leave, during academic leave until the second half of 2018. In other words, she will return to Stanford’s class in September this year.
This news is now still in a prominent position on the Stanford Visual Labs homepage.
Misunderstanding of this news may be insufficient to understand the academic leave of American universities.
First, I will take a look at the American University’s academic leave (Sabbatical Leave).
To stimulate the creativity of the researchers, they are allowed to study, recuperate or travel for a period of time after a certain number of years of work (usually 7 years). The most common is a half-year full-time leave, or a one-year half-paid vacation.
Li Feifei used the academic holiday as the chief scientist of Google AI. This holiday lasted for a year and a half, probably because she has been working too hard.
On June 26th, US time, Li Feifei attended the US Congress hearing and today he flew across half of the earth to Beijing. Easily switch time zones and represent Google at the seminar on the establishment of Tsinghua Artificial Intelligence Research Institute (Tsinghua AI Academy announced its in-depth cooperation with Google, see the second report of today’s Big Data Digest).
In the congressional hearing, Li Feifei appeared as the founder of “AI4ALL” to explain how to provide AI education for minority groups (girls, other ethnic groups, etc.). This can also be seen in her efforts to invest in this start-up project.
Li Feifei’s speech on the congress of June 26:
Taken together, a direct question is whether Li Feifei will continue to serve as the chief scientist of Google Cloud AI while returning to Stanford for teaching.
When the foreign media Business Insider asked Google for this matter, a Google spokesman replied:
“Li Feifei is an accomplished AI leader. She plans to work for Google Cloud for a long time, but when she stops at Stanford University, her time spent on Google will be reduced.”
The spokesperson declined to explain whether Li Feifei will become a part-time job in Google in the future, and whether he will still host the daily work of Google Cloud AI.
After all, Google’s work is not good, and if you accidentally, you will step on the pit.
A large pit was introduced to the US military from March this year to provide TensorFlow APIs and UAV image recognition technology.
After protesting by thousands of Google employees and various outsiders, Google promised not to use AI for weapons in early June.
During the period, the internal mail content of Li Feifei and other management of Google was also exposed. The outside comment accused her of only scrambling Google’s reputation and not disagreeing with the military itself. The position is contrary to the “AI democratization” that she has always advocated.
According to the New York Times, Li Feifei wrote in an e-mail: “Do not mention or suggest artificial intelligence at all costs. Weaponed artificial intelligence may be one of the most sensitive topics. This is a big hit for the media. They will try their best to smash Google.”
In another e-mail, Li Feifei wrote: “I don’t know what effect the media will have on Google if it focuses on the topic of “Google’s secret manufacturing of artificial intelligence weapons or development of related technologies.”
In the eyes of some Google employees, these comments made Li Feifei look like a collusion in the deal between Google and the Pentagon.
Critics believe that Li Feifei should at least worry about this in the case of Google’s military contract, but she showed indifference to “AI for good” and artificial intelligence. To a certain extent, Li Feifei has always advocated that the authoritative image of artificial intelligence is weakened.
However, what is certain is that Li Feifei is not the only Google executive who seems to be willing to cooperate with the Pentagon, and she is clearly not the ultimate decision maker of the deal.