SAN FRANCISCO — A year ago, the mood in Silicon Valley was dour. Big Tech stocks were falling, the cryptocurrency bubble had popped, and a wave of layoffs was beginning to sweep through the industry.
Then the artificial intelligence boom hit.
Since then, venture capitalists have been throwing money at AI start-ups, investing over $11 billion in May alone, according to data firm PitchBook, an increase of 86 percent over the same month last year. Companies from Moderna to Heinz have mentioned AI initiatives on recent earnings calls. And last week, AI chipmaker Nvidia became one of only a handful of companies in the world to hit $1 trillion in value.
In San Francisco, it’s suddenly impossible to escape the AI hysteria. In
bars and restaurants, people are conversing about using ChatGPT and whether AI will take their jobs — or take over the world
. AI is one of the only fields here still hiring, and firms are paying huge salaries for the expertise. Workers here are retraining to specialize in the field.