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Tech companies are pulling out all the stops to hire top-tier talent in the field of artificial intelligence — so much so that billionaire moguls like Mark Zuckerberg and Sergey Brin are personally reaching out to candidates in hopes of convincing them to work for their firms.

Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Meta Platforms Inc, has sent personally written notes to AI researchers at DeepMind, the lab owned by tech rival Google, in hopes of recruiting them to join Facebook’s parent company, according to a report in The Information.

Brin, the fellow billionaire who made his fortune as co-founder of search engine Google, personally called a company employee who was about to leave for OpenAI and offered them a pay bump and other perks to persuade them to stay, tech news site reported.

It is unclear when the call was made. The Post has sought comment from Brin and Zuckerberg.

Life update! ? Today is my first day as a Principal Llama Engineer of the @Meta's GenAI in Paris!

Massive thanks for a very personal involvement of Mano, @edunov, Mark, @ylecun, @jpineau1, Naila, Laurens & Ricardo to bring me onboard to https://t.co/3Dgw3GDS5f of @AIatMeta! pic.twitter.com/mhd4ksD64z

Meta is looking to lure AI talent by extending job offers without interviewing the candidates and relaxing longstanding company policy to not raise the salary of an in-house employee who threatens to leave for a competitor, according to the report.

Zuckerberg’s personal outreach, which is considered rare when considering the rank of the employee, has borne fruit.

Last week, Michal Valko, a senior engineer at DeepMind, announced that he was defecting to Meta to take up a role as principal engineer at the company’s AI-powered large language model LlaMA.

In a social media post, Valko credited Zuckerberg’s pitch, saying he owed the Facebook founder “massive thanks for a very personal involvement.”

In the X post, Valko even referred to the billionaire CEO by his first name, “Mark.”

Meta is considered a Silicon Valley laggard when it comes to tech companies’ salary packages for coveted AI researchers.

While ChatGPT-maker OpenAI pays its prized recruits a reported compensation package ranging from $5 million to $10 million mostly in the form of stock, Zuckerberg’s shop is offering a relatively measly $1 million to $2 million annual wage, according to The Information.

A Wall Street Journal report cited data from Levels.fyi which found that the median compensation of 344 machine learning and AI engineers at Meta was nearly $400,000 a year including bonus and equity.

While tech companies are laying off people in non-AI divisions, they are ramping up offers to engineers who can help them develop the know-how behind chat bots and language models.

Some firms are even extending seven-figure annual pay packages to members of entire engineering teams in hopes of getting them to defect in unison, according to the Journal.

The median salary for six candidates who were weighing job offers from OpenAI was $925,000 including bonus and equity.

Justin Kinsey, the president of a chip-recruiting company, said he recently convinced an AI engineering manager making more than $1 million in bonuses and stock to leave Microsoft in favor of a startup that was paying him $100,000 less in base salary.

Kinsey told the Journal that the engineering manager received stock options that he anticipates will one day be worth $40 million.

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Sports

Colorado lands former Pitt DE Hayes from portal

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Colorado lands former Pitt DE Hayes from portal

Former Pittsburgh defensive end Dayon Hayes announced Sunday that he is transferring to Colorado.

Hayes led Pitt in tackles for loss last season with 10.5 and also had 45 total tackles, four sacks and six quarterback hurries. He is a 6-foot-3, 265-pound senior who played the past four seasons for Pitt after signing with the team out of high school.

He is bringing some needed defensive help to Colorado, especially in getting to the quarterback and being disruptive up front. The Buffaloes were ranked No. 63 in sacks last season with 27 and No. 78 in defensive pressures with 139.

The staff has worked this offseason to add more help up front on the defensive side with Hayes and reuniting him with former Pitt teammate Samuel Okunlola, who is also transferring in to Colorado. In addition to those two, Colorado has former Alabama lineman Anquin Barnes, former LSU lineman Quency Wiggins, Arizona State‘s B.J. Green, Arkansas lineman Taurean Carter, Kentucky edge Keaten Wade, New Mexico State edge Nikhil Webb Walker and Houston lineman Chidozie Nwankwo entering the program.

The Buffaloes have brought in transfers in droves during coach Deion Sanders’ tenure at Colorado. The program finished the 2023 season with a 4-8 record.

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Politics

Sunak set for week-long blitz of announcements amid talk of no-confidence vote and summer election

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Sunak set for week-long blitz of announcements amid talk of no-confidence vote and summer election

Rishi Sunak is undertaking a week-long blitz of activity and announcements at home and abroad in a bid to convince a sceptical party he has the ideas and drive to continue as prime minister.

After weeks of criticism about an empty legislative agenda, an inability to set the agenda, and divisions in the Tory Party dominating the headlines, this week “action man” Mr Sunak will seek to take back control with news conferences, interviews and announcements.

On the Politics At Jack And Sam’s podcast, we discuss how Mr Sunak is aware of a possible challenge to his position with a vote of no confidence after the local and mayoral elections on 2 May.

He is undertaking a burst of activity to be able to point to his MPs to a rich agenda both this side of a general election and beyond.

👉 Listen above then tap here to follow Politics at Jack at Sam’s wherever you get your podcasts 👈

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‘Patience is thin’ over Rwanda bill delays

On Monday, the PM will hold a news conference to champion the likely passage into law of the emergency Rwanda legislation first announced last year.

Then on Tuesday, he will embark on a two-day European trip, beginning in Warsaw, with a major announcement planned as part of the trip.

Some sources expect the announcement to be defence-related, possibly around jointly training troops and sharing equipment with Poland and the West Balkans.

This is Mr Sunak’s first major trip on to the world stage in months, apart from a brief visit to Ukraine.

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It follows his first set-piece speech outside the Commons last Friday about welfare reform.

Many of the ideas there were designed for the manifesto and to be implemented in the next parliament in the unlikely event the Tories win.

The looming spectre of a challenge has led to some conversations about holding the election over the summer, with the starting gun fired possibly even announced before the local elections.

This remains unlikely, however, since it would be possible for the opposition to present this as a move prompted by panic, and the Tories remain around 20 points behind in the polls.

Therefore appealing to his party to allow him to stay in the job, by showing a blizzard of action and announcements, is a priority for Mr Sunak amid continued speculation about his party’s unhappiness.

Some 57 Tory MPs voted against his flagship smoking ban policy last week, with a further more than 100 abstaining, in a sign of his lack of grip on the party.

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Politics

The Week… Rishi tries to save his skin

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The Week... Rishi tries to save his skin

Two of Westminster’s best-connected journalists, Sky News’s Sam Coates and Politico’s Jack Blanchard, guide you through their top predictions for the next seven days in British politics.

This week, they react to MP Mark Menzies’ resignation from the Conservative Party and look at what it might mean for the next election.

Also this week, Rishi Sunak is packing his bags for Europe. Jack and Sam discuss what’s on the trip’s agenda, including highly anticipated announcements on the defence of Ukraine, as well as the UK’s wider defence and warfare strategy.

Mr Sunak’s Rwanda plan could finally pass through parliament too, more than five months after he unveiled the emergency laws. Jack and Sam reveal the final stage will be far from straightforward though, with MPs told to expect a long night in the Commons.

Plus, Angela Rayner is standing in for Keir Starmer at PMQs this week, the first time she’s been in the Commons since police announced they were investigating her. Jack and Sam discuss how she’ll deal with the mounting pressure.

👉 Listen above then tap here to follow Politics at Jack at Sam’s wherever you get your podcasts 👈

Email with your thoughts and rate how their predictions play out: jackandsam@sky.uk or jackandsam@politico.co.uk

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