There's been another shuffle in employees working in the A.I. industry this week as one of Alphabet's subsidiaries says goodbye to one of its top artificial intelligence scientists. More specifically, Daphne Koller is reportedly leaving the company after working with the company's medical research organization, Calico, for a little under two years. Her separation from the research team appears to be occurring on good terms, however, with Calico spokesperson Neil Cohen lauding Koller's work with the organization. According to Cohen, Koller was "instrumental" in building out the computer infrastructure around Calico's machine learning projects and in advancing the company's knowledge of biological aging mechanisms.
Koller, for her part, has said that she enjoyed working with the team and has great respect for the "aspirational" mission Calico is trying to accomplish but that she has decided to pursue other opportunities. Unfortunately, Koller didn't provide any further details about what those opportunities are. Prior to working with Google's subsidiary, Calico, Koller was a computer science professor at Stanford University and a co-founder of Coursera Inc., which is an online education provider. She joined Calico in August of 2016, taking on the role of chief computing officer. For those who may not be aware, Calico was formed back in 2013, with an ambitious goal of extending human life through the study of aging mechanisms and Koller's job was working in computational biology. That effectively utilizes machine learning to analyze metrics pertaining to biology and human life in order to find ways to extend the human lifespan.
Aside from a few leaks of information – some of them from Koller herself – there isn't much that's known about what, exactly is done in Calico's medical research. Koller has previously talked about the use of computer vision to track cellular activity and spot aging in laboratory mice. Historically speaking, the division hasn't been very profitable. It has also been pulling substantially from Google's resources over that entire span. Of course, with consideration for the goal this particular unit is reaching toward, any breakthroughs it makes could ultimately be priceless. In the meantime, it's undoubtedly a blow to Google to lose Koller and the company has yet to make an announcement as to who will be replacing Koller after she's gone.