Why I quit my job as Google’s Chief Decision Scientist

What’s it like to go from being Chief Decision Scientist at Google to being, well… just me?

Cassie Kozyrkov

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Writing about personal things is unusual for me; most of my blogging has been an effort to make complicated technical concepts simple. But it’s Saturday, let’s celebrate! (By blogging instead of going outside, I guess?)

So long, Google, and thanks for all the fish!

Just over a month ago, I left my position as Google’s Chief Decision Scientist after nearly a decade at the company. It was a fascinating time to be there and an honor to experience applied AI coming into its own from a seat right at the epicenter. I watched the birth of transformers (that’s the “T” in ChatGPT), personally trained over 20,000 Googlers in data+AI (you can view one of my workshops here), impacted hundreds of projects, and founded the discipline of Decision Intelligence there.

Why did I quit my job just as generative AI was becoming everyone’s favorite conversation starter? No, not because I think something is rotten in the state of Google. I don’t think that at all. I continue to believe that Google’s heart is mostly in the right place and its Brain is doing okay too. I’ll explain in a moment, but first, a humorous interlude where I tell you the physical circumstances of my quitting.

When it rains, it pours

People say that it’s wise to take a real break when you quit your job and I had a bit of vacation saved up, so the plan was to have my last day of teary farewells after a hard reset: two weeks at the only place on the planet that’s not on the planet…

Photo by the author.

The classic career-exit-via-Burning-Man move. The idea was to arrive at the beginning of Build Week and be part of transforming the Playa from barren desert into a cross between a roleplaying video game, a festival, and an alien planet. It went from looking like this:

Build Week. Not much here yet. Photo by the author.

To this:

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Cassie Kozyrkov

Chief Decision Scientist, Google. ❤️ Stats, ML/AI, data, puns, art, theatre, decision science. All views are my own. twitter.com/quaesita