We are currently developing artificial intelligence because it allows us to build better products.
Humanity is rife with problems. Both personal and interpersonal problems. Free-market capitalism has been a boon because it encourages the development of increasingly effective solutions to these problems.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence are powerful because it can arbitrarily automate tasks that require human-level intelligence or beyond. This makes products that integrate AI better than their competitors. This then encourages researchers and ML engineers to create better AI infrastructure.