July 2024

From $4 Million to a Billion: The Costly Evolution of Training AI Model

Have you noticed the dramatic rise in AI job openings lately? Postings for generative AI roles have surged by a shocking 75-fold in recent years. These positions often offer significantly higher salaries compared to traditional jobs, reflecting the growing demand for AI expertise.

But, there is a harsh truth for numerous AI developers worldwide during this expansion. Although AI positions represent just 0.12% of job postings globally, they represent nearly 2% in the United States, highlighting the unequal distribution of job prospects across different regions.

According to the World Bank, online gig workers, critical for training AI models, often lack essential protections and support systems. This highlights the pressing need for fair workplace standards in the expanding AI industry.

Critics argue that benefits for AI workers vary on a global scale. Reportedly, nearly 100 AI workers in Kenya appealed to the US government for improved workplace safety measures, including training programs and mental health resources. They claimed earning less than $2 per hour and suffering from PTSD due to exposure to violent content while working. These workers, vital in AI product development, emphasize the noticeable contrast in support compared to more privileged roles in engineering and executive positions.

Another thing to consider is that the cost of advancing AI technology raises ethical questions. What was once affordable, the price of training AI models has skyrocketed into the hundreds of millions. Meta’s Llama-2, initially considered a bargain at under $4 million, contrasts dramatically with predictions that future models could cost over a billion dollars to develop. This financial barrier makes you think about who controls AI’s future and whether everyone involved receives fair treatment.

Balancing innovation with equity is crucial as we harness AI’s potential for societal benefit. How can we ensure that AI advancements benefit everyone, not just a privileged few? It's a question that demands collective effort and thoughtful consideration as we shape the future of technology.

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