Machine learning is not new, but advances in both hardware and software have recently opened the gate of possibilities. Automated drones and vehicles are capable of getting themselves from point A to point B without (much?) human intervention thanks to machine learning and artificial neural networks. With an extremely small amount of effort, software can now be developed to do incredible things with neural networks which couldn’t be done just a few years ago.
In the world of software consulting, it can be virtually impossible to determine what the fair market value for software development is. Nobody estimates work according to the same parameters: some firms have differing rates for differing services, some have offshore development services, some won’t provide a meaningful estimate at all (and for good reason).