Microsoft transfers AI experts from China to Canada

Category: AI Americas Asia
Posted by Lea Hogg

Microsoft‘s top technology talent is being moved from China to Canada.

Microsoft Research Asia (MSRA) based in Beijing has applied for up to 40 Canadian visas for its top-tier AI experts with a view to transfer them to work at the Microsoft Institute in Vancouver.

Is this a brain drain for China?

The ‘Vancouver Plan’ as it is called, will staff the company’s leading AI experts in one hub where the best minds will be able to brainstorm at ease. This initiative was established as a result of the escalation of political tensions between the US and China. This move would also give the company an opportunity to retain the best talent and stop them from being poached by local tech companies that are developing Chinese versions of Chat GPT.

Some of Microsoft’s China-based scientists claimed that there is a constant flow of attractive job offers from Chinese tech companies seeking to acquires the best talent in the industry. Pressure has also been mounting from authorities to entice Microsoft employees to move and work for local companies. The best solution was to apply for visas for a move to Canada rather than facing a risk of breaking up what is considered to be the premium AI team in the world.

Microsoft researchers were need to move to a country other than US and China and Canada seemed to offer the best conditions where the company’s work would be nurtured and allowed to develop further without any external hurdles.

Microsoft’s contribution to AI is phenomenal

Unlike Google for example, Microsoft has kept a strong presence in China. Ever since ChatGPT was launched last November, the potential impact and repercussions on the economy have been in discussion. It is expected that AI could increase productivity and raise global GDP by 7 percent over the next ten-year period. Defining the benefits as this stage is different to quantify.

The ‘J-curve’ effect

Technology research experts predict that AI could have the ‘J-curve’ effect whereby productivity would fall before it starts to rise steeply. Before success is achieved, AI will without doubt experience a dip. Researchers cite electricity, railways and computers as taking many years after they were brought to market to impact on productivity. AI however does not need a new infrastructure as many other sectors would.

Chat GPT has already been used by over 100 million people and most businesses will need to develop their business model to make use of this technology. It is likely that going forward, the sector will become regulated and this has to be taken into consideration when forecasting AI’s impact on productivity. Policy and laws involved much bureaucracy and given its potential, AI is facing a moratorium on leading edge development of more superior and sophisticated models.

Microsoft Corp is trading at 326.79 (+0.47 percent) on the NASDAQ

 

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