DC Leads in AI Jobs and Federal Funding: Report

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This was the year that artificial intelligence (AI) burst into the mainstream, and Washington, D.C., is playing an important role in advancing the field, according to a new report by JLL. 

Government spending on AI research and development has more than doubled in the past five years, while job postings for AI-related positions in the D.C. region have more than tripled in the same period, according to the report, titled  “Capital of Artificial Intelligence: Metro Washington, D.C.’s role in shaping the AI industry.”

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While the San Francisco Bay Area remains the leader of the ascendant industry, AI is expected to keep growing, with the potential of becoming a $15.7 trillion industry by 2030, according to PwC. 

President Biden’s 2024 budget request included $1.8 billion for AI and machine learning initiatives. With that, defense contractors in Northern Virginia, biotech companies along the Interstate 270 corridor in Maryland, and a growing number of companies throughout the District who dabble in the AI space will most likely benefit from this increase of federal spending on AI research and development, according to the JLL report.

In addition, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense and Department of State are among the federal entities in the D.C. region that are actively engaging in research to advance AI technologies. 

Given their prominence, it’s likely these agencies will also play a leading role in the regulatory realm, as the world looks to govern and manage the effect of AI technologies on society, per the report.

All this will likely provide a boost to the District’s troubled office market. As of December, approximately 15 percent of AI-related job postings in the D.C. region are for remote positions, JLL reported. That’s lower than the current share of work-from-home jobs in D.C., which should mean a rise in demand for office space.

“Metro D.C. has a well-established AI ecosystem that sets it apart from the prominent West Coast tech markets,” the report noted. “While the likes of Silicon Valley and the greater San Francisco Bay Area have gained recognition for capturing economic growth from recent advancements in generative AI, Metro D.C.’s ecosystem is characterized by the practical application of AI and machine learning in various industries, but especially health care and defense.”

The federal government spent $2.58 billion on AI research and development in 2022, an increase of $130 million over the 2021 fiscal year, and more in this year’s budget.

Keith Loria can be reached at Kloria@commercialobserver.com.