The Style Maven Astrophysicists of Silicon Valley

This not-at-all-technical piece from Wired covers the migration of academics, particularly from astrophysics, to commercial roles in machine learning.

The thing I think is interesting about this is that I perceive a latent normative judgment here: that it's "bad" that huge numbers of academics are migrating towards industry and away from pure research.

I don't really agree with that. I think that there are natural pendulum swings during massive technology cycles. First the emphasis is on research and smart people flock to academia, then the emphasis is on deployment and smart people flock to industry. The tools / methodologies / culture that is being built inside of companies like Netflix and Stitch Fix today are incredibly important to the development of the ML/AI field (much is being done in the open), and these advancements will feed back into the next generation of academic research.

Time is a flat circle.


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