8 February, 2018
Just How Shallow Is The Artificial Intelligence Talent Pool?
Everyone agrees that the competition to hire people who know how to build artificial intelligence systems is intense. It’s turned once-staid academic conferences into frenzied meet markets for corporate recruiters and driven the salaries of the top researchers to seven-figures.
But how scarce AI talent really is has been something of an industry mystery. Last year Element AI Inc., a Montreal-based startup, estimated that there were fewer than 10,000 people in the world with the expertise needed to create machine learning systems. The figure was widely cited in media stories and among recruiting firms, although it wasn’t clear how Element AI arrived at it. In December, Tencent Holdings Ltd., the Chinese internet giant, published its own estimate of global AI talent, putting the figure at a far higher 200,000 to 300,000 people who were either AI researchers or industry practitioners.