Meta Scientist Yann LeCun Once Turned Down Job At Google Due To "Low Salary"

Meta AI Scientist Yann LeCun said that if he had taken the role at Google he may have changed parts of the company culture.

Meta Scientist Yann LeCun Once Turned Down Job At Google Due To 'Low Salary'

Mr LeCun was offered the role of head of research at Google in 2002.

Meta's chief artificial intelligence (AI) scientist Yann LeCun recently revealed that he turned down a job offer from Google in 2002 for a number of reasons, one of them being low pay. Taking to X (formerly Twitter), Mr LeCun said that he was offered the role of head of research at Google in early 2002. He stated that there were several reasons behind turning down the job offer, including the size of the company and the compensation package. The salary was low, especially at a time when he needed money to support his teenage sons, he said. 

"The salary was low. Obviously, the stock option package would have ended up stratospheric. But we had teenage sons getting close to college and needed cash. Housing is more expensive in Silicon Valley than in New Jersey," Mr LeCun wrote on X.

In his post, the Meta AI scientist also revealed that at the time, Google had 600 employees and no revenue. "You can't really do real research at that stage. My job would have involved a lot of corporate strategy, technology development for products, management, etc. I wanted to refocus on basic research in ML, vision, robotics, and computational neuroscience," Mr LeCun wrote. 

He also stated that he wanted to refocus in several areas, including machine learning, and taking up the job offer would have meant moving to California - a move his family was not comfortable with. "You can't uproot teenagers without them hating you for it," he wrote. 

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Yann LeCun said that if he had taken the role at Google he may have changed parts of the company culture. "Had I joined, I think the research culture at Google would have been different. I might have made it a bit more open and a bit more ambitious a bit earlier," he wrote. 

Since being shared, Mr LeCun's post has amassed more than 672,000 views and over 1,300 likes. 

Notably, Mr LeCun won the Turing Prize for his research in 2018. The award is an honour that has become known as the technology industry's version of the Nobel Prize. It comes with a $1 million (roughly Rs. 6.9 crores) prize funded by Google, a company where AI has become part of its DNA.

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