While people are worrying about how artificial intelligence might take jobs away in the future, the current job market is actually desperately looking for people with AI talent to fill positions at the major tech companies.
There is a problem though. There is a massive shortage of people out there actually capable of working on artificial intelligence. This massive shortage is making companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple pay top dollar for AI talent as they each race to be the leader in the artificial intelligence marketplace.
The Lack of AI Talent
As you can imagine, artificial intelligence is not the easiest subject.
According to Element AI, there is estimate of just less than 10,000 people in the entire world that have the skill set to solve complex artificial intelligence problems. With this small number of people, companies are having a difficult time finding enough people to fuel their artificial intelligence needs.
The lack of AI researchers has also creates another problem. Since the demand is high, it is creating it more lucrative for AI specialists to go work for a major tech company, which has led to a drastic decrease in the amount of professors in AI programs at universities throughout the United States.
Less professors results in less capable programs to teach individuals about the topic creating a bigger shortage for the future to come.
The Artificial Intelligence Competition
The lack of people skilled in developing for artificial intelligence has created an insane competition between the major tech corperations.
According to the New York Times, the salaries are so high that the tech industry needs a salary cap like in the NFL or NBA. Imagine a employee signing a “max contract” to take their talents to Google in Silicon Valley to work on AI research.
Not only are these companies willing to pay their employees high salaries, they are also racing to acquire as many AI startups as they can. For example a year ago, Intel acquired a deep learning startup called Nervana Systems for more than $400 million dollars while Google also acquired a small AI startup based in London called DeepMind for more than $500 million dollars.
The competition among the major tech companies has made it difficult for smaller companies with not as much cap room to get involved. To try to compete, companies everywhere are hiring people with advanced mathematical backgrounds and not as much technical skills, and try to bring them up to speed. It is not the best method to solve the shortage, but it is the only way that will work in meantime.
Not all is lost though. People like Andrew Ng are creating online programs to help try to bring the masses the opportunity to gain the valuable skills these companies are looking for, and hopefully the fame and hype around the area will excite future generations to seek AI training to one day fill this shortage.
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