Developers Are Really Excited About A.I. & ML in 2018

Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) is shaping up to dominate 2018, and developers are eager to work with it.

This according to a new study from Digital Ocean, which queried tech pros on a variety of topics. Notably, 81 percent say they are “interested in learning about” or trying A.I. and/or Machine Learning (ML) tech this year.

When asked what advancements they were most interested in, developers and software engineers gave a mixed-bag response, though most were interested in automation. Here’s how it shapes up:

Digital Ocean’s data is close to Stack Overflow’s Developer Survey, which notes 40.8 percent of developers voiced a desire to increase automation in their daily routines. Similarly, 19.8 percent of developers in Stack Overflow’s survey say they felt artificial intelligence was “dangerous” – almost the exact same figure who show no interest in artificial intelligence via Digital Ocean’s survey.

Consumers are already using A.I. with aplomb. Though the use-cases for digital home assistants are limited, customers enjoy them. A recent Gallup poll shows 85 percent of customers claim to be using at least one device or program with A.I. baked in.

81 percent of developers interested in A.I. and ML has another important angle: it’s a sharp increase from the last time Digital Ocean asked devs how they feel. These ‘Currents’ surveys are released quarterly, with the last coming in December of 2017. At that time, 73 percent of devs were interested in A.I.

Artificial Intelligence is also seeing a boom in job growth. Canadian startup Element AI examined LinkedIn data and found a potential six-digit deficit in A.I. researcher positions. Dice’s own Salary Survey shows skills related to artificial intelligence – like Python – are lucrative, and incomes are gaining steam.

It’s also worth noting Digital Ocean’s data points to A.I. efforts coming from outside academia or big companies like Google or Apple. 32 percent of respondents work at companies with less than six employees, and 54 percent had a total headcount of 25 or fewer. Only 15 percent came from companies with 1,000 or more employees; the same percentage as those with over 100 employees.