San Francisco is being called the Cerebral Valley.” It was the growth of AI that revived San Francisco’s tech scene.
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On a recent Saturday at noon, about 150 Bay Area techies lined up for a marathon coding session at a $58 million mansion in Silicon Valley that serves as a “hacker house” for start-up founders, engineers, and researchers.
They had gathered to build apps with artificially intelligent language tools like ChatGPT, a new chatbot from research lab OpenAI — part of an explosion in recent months of in-person-only AI events that is reviving the Bay Area tech scene.
The eight-bedroom mansion, located in Hillsborough, about halfway between the headquarters for Google and San Francisco-based OpenAI, is called AGI House, focused on what its website calls “the golden age” of AI. It features a koi pond, pool, Zen garden, climate-controlled wine cellar, and custom water well. According to Zillow’s estimates, rent is roughly $45,000 per month.
Traditionally hacker houses — a tech industry rite of passage — referred to cramped quarters shared by start-up aspirants in search of big ideas and cheaper rent. But the money and power flooding into this wave of AI is warping and intensifying the trappings of a typical Silicon Valley gold rush, now set to explode with the launch of GPT-4. (Zillow estimates the value of AGI House at only $18 million, a third of its asking price.)
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In recent months, many people, most of them young, have flocked to the Bay Area’s AI scene to be closer to the action of hackathons, meetups, fireside chats and happy hours. Propelled by faith, curiosity, and FOMO, they want to secure their place in an economic future that tech leaders insist will be upended by AI.
“They’re at your house party, they’re everywhere,” said Gloria Felicia, one of the winners of the hackathon at AGI House. The co-founder of Speedify AI and start-up adviser to Spero Studios, she advertised spots in “an AGI House for women,” opening next month in Hayes Valley, an upwardly mobile neighborhood in downtown San Francisco.
In his blog, Bill Gates said that The Age of AI Has Began after seeing the impressive advancements in OpenAI’s ChatGPT.
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