CEO Of Hot Artificial Intelligence Startup Announces ‘Meritcracy’

    Koshiro K /
    Koshiro K /

    Alexandr Wang, the CEO of the rapidly growing artificial intelligence startup Scale AI, has garnered commendations from notable peers including Elon Musk for his recent announcement regarding the company’s hiring strategy. In 2016, Wang established Scale AI, which has since become a leader in providing essential data services for AI applications.

    Wang revealed through a post on the social media platform X that Scale AI will adhere to a hiring policy centered around “merit, excellence, and intelligence” (MEI), positioning it as a contrast to the commonly adopted DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) frameworks in other organizations.

    “Scale is a meritocracy, and we must always remain one,” Wang stated in his post. “Hiring on merit will be a permanent policy at Scale.”

    Scale AI’s core business involves assisting companies in deploying AI models by offering human resources and software solutions that label and test data crucial for training these models. The effectiveness of generative AI heavily relies on the quality of data it is trained with, a niche that Scale AI has successfully capitalized on.

    The company, which is currently valued at $14 billion, has achieved significant milestones including collaborating with OpenAI on the GPT-2 project, securing contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense, and advancing autonomous driving technologies.

    Following a recent funding round that raised $1 billion from investors such as Wellington Management and Y Combinator, among others, Wang addressed inquiries about his company’s approach to talent acquisition. He emphasized his personal involvement in the hiring process, stating, “Talent is our #1 input metric.”

    “It’s a big deal whenever we invite someone to join our mission, and those decisions have never been swayed by orthodoxy or virtue signaling or whatever the current thing is. I think of our guiding principle as MEI: merit, excellence, and intelligence,” Wang explained.

    He further clarified that Scale AI evaluates candidates on an individual basis rather than as representatives of demographic groups, advocating for a merit-based selection process that naturally fosters diversity without bias.

    “There is a mistaken belief that meritocracy somehow conflicts with diversity. I strongly disagree,” Wang commented. “No group has a monopoly on excellence. A hiring process based on merit will naturally yield a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, and ideas.”

    Wang’s stance on meritocracy not only aligns with his business ethics but is also seen as a moral obligation, ensuring fairness and respect within the workplace.

    The approach has resonated well within the tech community, with leaders like Y Combinator’s Garry Tan and Coinbase’s Brian Armstrong expressing their support.