The AI talent grab is real. This year alone, to Airbnb, while Pinterest hired Walmart CTO Jeremy King to . Moreover, all the big tech companies, , have for some time been vacuuming up AI talent through acquisitions — a recent CB Insights noted 635 AI acquisitions since 2010, topped by Apple with 20 acquisitions. Elsewhere, Microsoft to help train a new generation of AI students.

But while the AI , a significant shortage remains. Those with the necessary skills — ranging from robotics to computer vision and natural language processing — are in high demand, and they face a clear choice: Take the paycheck at one of the big tech companies, chase a longer-term moonshot at an emerging startup, or launch their own business

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