- The founder and director of Facebook's AI Research (FAIR) lab, Yann LeCun, is ending his time at the head of the research group after three years and taking on the position of chief AI scientist, reports Quartz. Jérôme Pesenti, former VP of IBM's Watson program and former CEO of AI startup benevolentAI, will succeed LeCun and is heading the company's Applied Machine Learning sector, according to the report. Pesenti's LinkedIn account identifies him as Facebook's VP of AI starting January.
- LeCun will assume a larger research role at FAIR while Pesenti, who reports directly to CTO Mike Schroepfer, will oversee AI technology across the research, development and product phases — a strategic move as Facebook integrates AI further in its ad targeting and News Feed changes, according to Quartz. The machine learning program will expand its scope from the Facebook platform infrastructure to the company's larger infrastructure, including Instagram and Oculus.
- Facebook was ranked the No. 1 company on a new Stoxx global artificial intelligence index ranking companies with more than half of their revenue tied to business segments related to AI. The social media titan was followed by Alphabet, Intel and Nvidia.
Changes in Facebook's AI leadership came just one day after the company announced a more than $12 million AI investment in France.
The organizational shuffle demonstrates how companies with a significant portion of segments tied to AI technologies need to rethink management. AI needs top-down direction, with upper level management laying out a clear vision of the technology from the whiteboard phase to rollout.
What is notable about Facebook is that, unlike other top companies, it is intrinsically a social media company and not a technology company, yet it has still managed to rise to the No. 1 spot in AI.
And if Facebook, Google and its peers are to be followed — which, based on precedent, is the case more often than not — then IT leaders can take a page out of their book and reexamine AI management strategy.