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AI Talent News Roundup October 2019: Tesla's acquisition of DeepScale, Uber layoffs, Kodiak Robotics new hardware lead, and MIT Sloan AI Report

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October 6, 2019

MIT Sloan Management Review 2019 Reveals Significant Insights for Hiring AI Talent

2019 Artificial Intelligence Global Executive Study and Research Report (Source: MIT Sloan Management Review)


The 2019 MIT SMR-BCG Artificial Intelligence Global Executive Study and Research Report, released on October 15, states that business leaders as they look to the future must also carefully consider how AI may affect their talent strategy. In most companies, the skill sets and success profiles of the workforce (and the talent pools from which they will come) will be materially different in the next decade or two than they are today; the effect of this change on a company’s long-term HR strategy will be nothing short of massive. The report indicates 65% of organizations investing in AI talent have seen the business impact, demonstrating the importance and power of consistent talent investment.


Tesla Reportedly Acquires AI Automation and Efficiency Startup DeepScale

Image result for tesla camera
Tesla Model S at Charging Station (Source: Flickr)

Tesla has reportedly acquired DeepScale, a Silicon Valley startup that focuses on reducing the number of overall resources that AI products typically require. Tesla’s main reasoning for buying out the startup is to help refine its autopilot driver assistance program, therefore helping the company produce its robotaxis. With the help of DeepScale, Tesla is hoping to swiftly bring its cars up from Level 2 automation to full automation, in time for 2020 when Elon Musk aims to release an autonomous ride-sharing service. More information about DeepScale can be found in the Robin.ly interview with the former CEO and Co-Founder Forrest Landola, where he discusses the aim of the startup, and how it came into formation. Landola has since joined Tesla as a senior staff machine learning scientist as of September 30.

Kodiak Robotics Hires Former Lyft Electronics Director to Lead Their Hardware Division

Jamie Hoffacker joins Kodiak to lead hardware division (Source: Kodiak Robotics/PRNewswire)

The autonomous trucking startup, Kodiak Robotics, has announced that Jamie Hoffacker will be joining their team as head of the hardware division. Prior to this, Hoffacker was the Director of Sense and Electronics for Lyft’s Self-driving sector and had also worked on Google’s mapping and camera tools. This hire is of great significance as it shows that Kodiak Robotics are moving rapidly closer to their goal of commercialization with regards to their autonomous trucks. This hire has also happened at a time when Kodiak Robotics has just recently quadrupled their number of employees. Hoffacker commented on his new role, saying that he is “excited to join Kodiak because of the company's focus on long-haul trucking, which not only represents the fastest but more importantly the safest way to deploy self-driving technology at scale”


Uber Lays off Around 350 Employees from Across Multiple Areas Including Its Self-Driving Division

Self driving Uber prototype in San Francisco (Source: WikiMedia Commons)

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has announced via a company-wide email that about 350 of its employees from numerous areas within its organization (including its self-driving division and its food-delivery service Uber Eats) have been laid off. In terms of percentages, this accumulates to nearly 1.5% of the staff at Uber. This is not the first time Uber has removed large quantities of its workforce this year; 435 employees were laid off in September, and 400 more were laid off in August. News of the recent cutting of employee numbers appears to have positively affected Uber’s shares, as they rose by 3.2% after the revelation.

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