A report about how much Silicon Valley companies are paying AI engineers caught my eye this morning. For anyone with a doctorate in AI or even a little experience in the field, companies are willing to pay as much as $300,000 per year up to $500,000 per year. The report suggested that folks with management duties in AI, like a former engineer who worked on self-driving car tech at Google, made around $120 million in incentives.

If you're like me, you read into the report a little, The implication here: AI is a hot market and, if you have the means or wherewithal to start a company, now is the best time.

Why is this happening? What's the impetus?

I blame Alexa, at least in part.

The voicebot, developed by Amazon and now so popular that they make commercials joking about which spouse gets to talk to her, is everywhere. Last week, Sonos sent me a speaker to test that lets you control your music by voice. I now regularly talk to my garage doors and tell them to open on queue. Alexa could someday replace your smartphone. This is getting pretty intense, and it's only going to get better.

There's a confluence of tech innovations at work.

Speech recognition is now smooth and efficient, even if you talk really fast (like my wife) or talk a tad slow (like me). You don't have to know any voice commands; you just talk normally like you're chatting with a friend. "Alexa, who is Donald Trump and when was he born?" actually works. A new speaker called the  Harman Kardon Invoke uses the Cortana bot and you can ask her to sing a song. They all work great.

And, users are demanding these products. We're inundated with too much tech, too many apps. We're too distracted. We need help to even keep our heads clear. 

But this is just the beginning. Bots will be in your car, talk to you in the winding path in a park on a long run, and wake you up in the morning. We'll tell lawnmower bots to get busy with the mowing, command other bots at home to wash the garage floor, and instruct a dishwasher bot to make sure the fine china gets only a slight mist and soft scrub.

Actually, the bots will figure this all out on their own, sensing when the grass is getting too long, the garage floor is looking dingy, and the dishes are fully loaded and ready to wash. Bots will become highly proactive, assisting us in ways we can barely even imagine today and queuing up information we want and need.

Even web browsing will change. Bots will surf for us and figure out what we really need to know, then make the information more digestible and handy.

I haven't even mentioned how this will all impact your morning commute. A car I tested recently adjusted its position in the lane automatically based on wind conditions. Someday, cars will not only drive us home as we take a nap, they will find the fastest route home, queue up our favorite music, and dim the lights so we can sleep as they speed along at insanely high speeds using a dedicated autonomous car lane.

It will happen, but the question for you is: Are you on the bandwagon? Or at least aware of it? Or investing in it somehow? If there's any way you can start an AI company, making a new voicebot, or a home appliance, or a robot development platform, or a consulting company that offers to test out the AI bots from other companies--do it. And, do it now.

The market needs you. ​

If you start one, or are in the process, let me know.

Published on: Oct 23, 2017