Apple’s machine learning director has left the company after just over three years after apparently clashing with the tech giant over its back-to-office policy.
Ian Goodfellow is a renowned computer scientist, with his specialties including artificial neural networks and deep learning. The Stanford-educated scholar previously worked as a research scientist at Google Brain and contributed to many widely published academic textbooks.
But he has now decided to leave the company following a disagreement with Apple’s decision to return employees to the office.
Why the exit?
The tech giant’s hybrid working policy means that its staff must currently make at least two office visits each week, which will increase to three days a week by May 23.
Goodfellow has yet to update his LinkedIn profile, but the drive to bring Apple employees back to the office to boost productivity has met with significant backlash since it was first announced by Chief Executive Tim Cook in March.
Apple’s labor collective, Apple Together, took a particularly dim view of the decision, noting in a statement, “You characterized the decision for the hybrid work pilot as combining the ‘need to commune in person “and the value of flexible work.”
“But in reality, he doesn’t recognize flexible working and is only driven by fear.
They added: “Fear of the future of work, fear of worker autonomy, fear of losing control.”
It seems Apple employees aren’t the only ones less enthusiastic about being forced back into the office.
Rising fuel costs have caused many workers to reconsider commuting in favor of working from home, according to research from software provider Citrix.
Almost half (45%) of UK workers plan to stay parked at home to avoid high travel costs.
Nearly half of their global counterparts say they will do the same according to research.
“I strongly believe that more flexibility would have been the best policy for my team,” Goodfellow said in an internal email seen by The edge.