Apple’s director of machine learning has left the company after just over three years after reportedly clashing with the tech giant over its return to the office policy.
Ian Goodfellow is a noted computer scientist, with his specialities including artificial neural networks and deep learning. The Stanford-educated academic has previously worked as a research scientist at Google Brain and has contributed to numerous widely published university 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 currently need to make at least two visits to the office every week, which will ramp-up to three days a week by May 23.
Goodfellow has yet to update his LinkedIn profile, but the drive to get Apple employees back in the office to boost productivity has met with significant backlash since it was first announced by chief executive Tim Cook in March.
Apple worker collective, Apple Together, took a particularly dim view of the move, noting in a statement: “You have characterized the decision for the Hybrid Working Pilot as being about combining the ‘need to commune in-person’ and the value of flexible work.”
“But in reality, it does not recognize flexible work and is only driven by fear.
They added: “Fear of the future of work, fear of worker autonomy, fear of losing control.”
It seems that Apple’s employees aren’t the only ones who are less than keen about being forced back into the office.
The rising cost of fuel has caused many workers to reconsider commuting to the office in favour of working from home, according to research from software vendor Citrix.
Nearly half (45%) of UK workers plan to stay parked at home to avoid the high costs of commuting.
Close to half of their counterparts around the world say they will do the same according to the research.
“I believe strongly that more flexibility would have been the best policy for my team,” said Goodfellow in an internal email seen by The Verge.