Best location for AI jobs is long-time tech hub, report says


It may not be a surprise that California’s San Francisco Bay Area is being hailed the best place for jobs in the artificial intelligence sphere. 

A report from the Brookings Institution on Thursday found that the City by the Bay and nearby San Jose, California, dominate job listings for work in generative AI.

The U.S.-based think tank said that generative AI activity appears to be “highly concentrated” thus far, with nearly half of related job postings in the Brookings database during the past year published in San Francisco, San Jose, New York, Los Angeles, Boston and Seattle over the preceding 10 months. 

In May, almost 60% of new generative AI jobs were posted in the Bay Area or one of 13 early-adopter metro areas, including Seattle. 

The Seattle skyline

The Space Needle stands over the Seattle skyline on March 13, 2022, in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images / Getty Images)

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The authors said that while the effective deployment of the emerging tech may widen the geography of the overall AI industry, it could – alternatively – solidify the dominance of the industry’s core hubs, especially when it comes to research and development jobs.

The report said that in order to boost prosperity in more places around the country and combat uneven geography and clustering, a degree of intentional investment in new regions will be required. However, it noted that the “broad diffusion of generative AI applications . . . may ensure that at least part of the generative AI economy spreads widely.”

Nevertheless, early indications suggest that advanced core research-and-development activities will likely remain concentrated in a few top general and generative AI work centers. 

The San Jose skyline

The Bank of Italy building, left, in downtown San Jose, California. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

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“More broadly, the extreme clustering of AI activities in a few hubs anchored by elite universities and major corporations has ramifications for the prosperity and health of the nation. Such clustering and the parallel emergence of AI ‘deserts’ could limit generative AI’s variety, accessibility, and potential to improve the quality of life in many communities,” they warned. 

“Add in the ‘winner-take-most’ dynamic of digital economies, and it’s likely that the growing geographical divergence of the AI sector could easily become entrenched, even as the generative AI gold rush holds out potential opportunity for new firms in new places,” the authors noted. 

The San Francisco skyline

An aerial view of the San Francisco skyline on May 30, 2023, in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Brandon Sloter/Getty Images / Getty Images)

Brookings argued that there are good reasons to favor interventions to counter excessive AI divergence, saying that leaving AI to concentrate even more will bring increased marginalization of the “rest” of the nation. 

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The report said that the U.S. should consider policy actions at the early stage to broaden the AI map as the field grows in significance. 



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