Where Are the AI Jobs? Look to a Farm or a Forest

The agriculture and forestry sector is on the hunt for AI pros, as are others outside the tech mainstream

2 min read
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Where are the AI jobs in the U.S.? The largest share, of course, is in the IT industry, with professional, scientific, and tech services coming in second place. But coming on strong are fields in which you might not expect to see large number of AI and machine learning professionals—agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting, according to an analysis of 2020 job postings.

For AI is increasingly being applied to forest conservation and management. Meanwhile, farm equipment maker John Deere put big and early bets on machine learning, and other ag-related businesses large and small are using AI for soil analysis, monitoring crop health, planning planting cycles, and a host of other purposes.

ai job postings Graph:Tekla Perry/IEEE Spectrum

The analysis, using data gathered by labor market research firm Burning Glass Technologies from some 45,000 online job sites, was reported in the 2021 Artificial Intelligence Index, an extensive roundup of AI trends published by Stanford University’s Institute for Human-Centric Artificial Intelligence.

The analysis also found a several other industries outside the tech mainstream who are also hot on the hunt for AI professionals, including public administration, mining, real estate, and food services:

chapter 3 page 9 graph AI INDEX REPORT 2021

Burning Glass also looked at changes in demand for specific AI-related skills, grouping them under seven general areas: machine learning (including recommender systems and classification algorithms) general artificial intelligence (things like expert systems and IBM’s Watson), neural networks, natural language processing, robots, visual image recognition, and autonomous driving. Machine learning started out strong and grew stronger, and demand still remains far ahead of the rest of the pack, in spite of a recent dip. 

chapter 3 page 8 graph AI INDEX REPORT 2021


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Special Report: Top Tech 2021

After months of blood, toil, tears, and sweat, we can all expect a much better year

1 min read
Photo-illustration: Edmon de Haro

Last January in this space we wrote that “technology doesn't really have bad years." But 2020 was like no other year in recent memory: Just about everything suffered, including technology. One shining exception was biotech, with the remarkably rapid development of vaccines capable of stemming the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year's roundup of anticipated tech advances includes an examination of the challenges in manufacturing these vaccines. And it describes how certain technologies used widely during the pandemic will likely have far-reaching effects on society, even after the threat subsides. You'll also find accounts of technical developments unrelated to the pandemic that the editors of IEEE Spectrum expect to generate news this year.

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