Like the idea very much
The only downside seems to be that they are difficult to get into.
But comparing these program with my current postdoc position (and grad school): The experience in these AI residency programs is probably more practical and less academic, and it probably pays more.
If you're a top-notch candidate coming out of college, I'd say why not try applying? You can always get a Masters degree and try applying again :)
There's a link on the top of HN front page right now:
There's a Persistent Hum in Windsor, Ontario
The more people hear about that into which they will never be accepted, the more “exclusive” it becomes.
This is not exclusive to google. Others do the same.
A significant part of HN is interested in AI. So, what if they only have a slight chance of getting into the AI program. They don't lose anything by knowing or even applying but they gain the possibility of a life changing event.