Regulators need AI expertise. They can’t stand it

ChatGPT caught up with regulators. Surprised when he started a new AI race. As companies race to develop and release ever more powerful models, lawmakers and regulators around the world have tried to catch up and rein in progress.

As governments roll out new AI programs, regulators around the world are urgently looking to hire AI experts. But some job ads are raising eyebrows and even laughter among AI researchers and engineers for offering wages that, amid the current AI boom, seem pitiful.

The European AI Office, which will be central to implementing the EU’s AI Act, lists vacancies earlier this month and wants applicants to start work in the fall. These include a master’s degree in computer science or engineering and at least one year of experience for technologists in AI, at a senior level that suggests an annual salary of €47,320 ($51,730).

Across La Manche, the UK government’s Department for Science, Innovation and Technology is also looking for AI experts. One open position is to head the International AI Safety Report, which will help deliver a landmark global report that emerged from the UK’s Global AI Safety Summit last year. “Expertise in frontier AI security and/or workable experience rapidly gaining expertise in a complex new policy area” is required, the ad says. The salary offered is £64,660 ($82,730) a year.

Although the EU list is within the tax bracket, the salaries are far below the eye-watering sums offered in the industry. Levels.fyi, which compiles certified tech industry compensation data, reports that the median total compensation for workers at OpenAI is $560,000, including stock grants, as is common in the tech industry. The lowest compensation he has confirmed at ChatGPT creator, for a recruiter, is $190,000.

The average compensation of $212,500 among creators of OpenAI’s Amazon-backed rival Anthropic-Claude chatbot is still higher than what regulators have offered. According to Levels.fyi, the bottom 25th percentile for jobs in machine learning and AI is $172,500. Stock grants included in tech industry compensation packages can turn into big losses if a company’s value rises. OpenAI is currently worth $80 billion following a February 2024 share tender that was first reported. gave The New York Times.

“There’s a brain drain happening in every government around the world,” says Nolan Church, cofounder and CEO of FairComp, a company that tracks salary data to help workers negotiate better pay. “One reason is that private companies not only have a better working environment, they will also offer significantly higher salaries.”

The church fears that competition between private companies will also widen the gap between the private and public sectors. “I personally believe that government should attract the best and the brightest,” he says, “but how do you convince the best and the brightest to take a massive pay cut? can?”

Outside the ballpark

It’s nothing new for government jobs to pay significantly less than jobs in industry, but the disconnect is potentially more significant and immediate in the current AI boom. Tech companies and corporations in other industries that are rushing to adopt the technology are competing fiercely for AI-savvy talent. The rapid pace of development in AI means regulators need to move quickly.

Jack Clark, co-founder of Anthropic, posted on X that the EU AI office’s salary offer is inconsistent with tech industry internships. “I appreciate that governments are working within their constraints, but if you want to undertake some ambitious regulation of the AI ​​sector you need to pay a fair wage,” he wrote. “You don’t have to compete with the industry, but you definitely need to be in the ballpark.”

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