Neil Sahota, IBM Master Inventor and author, delivers a TED Talk.

What does AI mean for you? Opportunity.


Neil Sahota

Irvine is booming with artificial intelligence innovators and has a thriving ecosystem to support the next generation of industry disruption. What does this mean for the average Irvinian? Simply put, it is opportunity.

Let’s start with jobs. All of the AI startup companies here need employees. While we may not all be AI entrepreneurs or even in the job market, we can take advantage of the new money that flows into and throughout the city from this global $40 billion market. These companies and employees need supplies, food, housing and entertainment. That’s good money, which is money spent within the community. By keeping the cash local, it fuels Irvine business growth and increases the tax base for additional city services.

In addition, AI gives us an attractor opportunity. As the coveted place to launch an AI venture, Irvine is attracting the best and brightest minds from all over the world. This is critical for the city, spurring business growth and maintaining home values. Without these opportunities, Irvine would lose a lot of talent and not reap the full benefits from having a top University – UC Irvine – in its backyard. Thankfully, having a powerful attractor like AI helps to retain more of our young professionals and encourages the migration of other top talent into the city and county.

Finally, the Irvine AI ecosystem creates the future, which is the best way to predict the future, according to Mark Twain. This drive to define the future also shapes the community mindset. Through our AI innovations, we define the future of work, school and life. More importantly, for each one of us, this helps shape a community attitude. For instance, consider the scenario where you live in a neighborhood where everyone is an avid bicyclist. Wouldn’t that inspire a yen to take up cycling? Now, imagine being in our Irvine community where we are surrounded by people creating the future. Hearing the stories about cutting-edge solutions, but now, they are in your own backyard, which makes it more real. This is a potent motivator to encourage each person to consider his or her opportunity to shape the future.

The Irvine AI ecosystem is more than amazing technology, risk-seeking entrepreneurs and the “thing” we will always read about it. It is opportunity for every Irvinian!

Neil Sahota is an IBM Master Inventor, United Nations AI subject-matter expert, and professor at UC Irvine. He co-authored the book “Own the A.I. Revolution.”

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