Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Quick Look on Top 12 AI Stocks to Buy according to Financial Experts

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In the volatile world of investing, few sectors incite as much excitement – and angst – as artificial intelligence. As AI transitions from science fiction to reality, companies large and small are locked in an arms race to develop the technologies that could reshape everything from healthcare to transportation to how we work and live. For investors keen to get in on the ground floor of this world-altering transition, separating the AI winners from the hype machines is absolutely crucial.

The Tech Titans Leading the Charge

When it comes to AI supremacy, the usual suspects – Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Meta – loom largest. These deep-pocketed tech titans are investing billions to ensure they maintain their stranglehold on this epoch-defining technology.

Take Microsoft, for example. The Windows creator has been steadily infusing AI capabilities into its suite of productivity and cloud computing offerings. The company’s latest gambit is Microsoft Copilot, an AI-powered assistant that can help with coding, writing, data analysis and more across Microsoft’s myriad platforms.

“We’re going through the most dramatic transformation the computing industry has seen in over 40 years,” proclaimed Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. “AI will reshape how we interact with computing across every software category.”

Meanwhile, Google has long been considered a pioneer in AI thanks to its leading research into deep learning and language models. The tech giant is now doubling down with products and services powered by generative AI like Bard – its challenger to OpenAI’s wildly popular ChatGPT. Google also recently unveiled an AI-first smartphone called the Pixel 7a, intended to be a mobile hub for its multi-purpose AI assistant.

Over at Amazon, the company’s cloud computing division AWS has been offering AI as-a-service and machine learning tools for more than 20 years to enterprises and startups alike. AWS’ AI platforms are used for everything from predictive analytics to recommendation engines for retail. Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa and its cashier-less Amazon Go stores showcase the company’s consumer AI ambitions as well.

Investors shouldn’t overlook Meta either. Mark Zuckerberg’s social networking colossus is hard at work developing AI models, tools and computing infrastructure to realize its vision of the metaverse. While Meta is far behind in AI compared to rivals, its mammoth cash reserves and intellectual property make it a player that cannot be ignored.

“AI is the most transformational technology coming to computing and enterprise software over the next decade and beyond,” asserts Dan Olley, CTO of AI startup Lightning AI. “The leading public cloud vendors like Amazon, Microsoft and Google will continue to drive fundamental innovations in AI systems and make them more accessible than ever.”

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The Semiconductor Enablers

While Big Tech hogs the limelight, the companies forging the powerful silicon brains behind AI systems are arguably even more pivotal. These semiconductor manufacturers are poised to generate huge windfalls as demand surges for their high-performance chips optimized for AI model training and inference.

At the head of the class is Nvidia. Once known primarily for its graphics processing units (GPUs) used in gaming, Nvidia has emerged as the de facto leader in AI chips. The company’s GPUs are coveted for their ability to accelerate the massively parallel computing workloads required by neural networks underpinning generative AI systems.

“The age of AI is truly upon us,” declared Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang. “Companies are rushing to apply NVIDIA AI across every industry to increase productivity, cut costs, and get ahead of the competition.”

Riding Nvidia’s coattails is AMD. The semiconductor upstart has its own line of powerful AI chips like the Instinct MI300 designed to challenge Nvidia’s dominance. With a growing roster of data center customers and a keen focus on energy efficiency, AMD aims to be a cheaper and greener alternative for organizations looking to scale their AI ambitions.

“AMD is extremely well-positioned to capitalize on one of the biggest revolutions the computing industry has ever seen with the proliferation of AI,” said Dr. Lisa Su, AMD’s chair and CEO.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world’s largest and most advanced chip foundry, is also an under-the-radar AI winner. While TSMC doesn’t design chips, it manufactures the processors powering AI systems for the likes of Nvidia, AMD, and countless other fabless semiconductor companies. TSMC’s technical prowess in the cutting-edge 3nm and 5nm process nodes makes it indispensable to AI chipmakers.

The Software Upstarts

Of course, developing and deploying AI models requires sophisticated software tools and platforms to complement the hardware muscle. A new breed of AI software startups has risen to fill this critical niche.

C3.ai, a Silicon Valley company founded by billionaire Tom Siebel, offers a comprehensive platform for developing, deploying and operating AI applications at scale. Its tools enable enterprises across industries to rapidly build and orchestrate AI models to solve complex use cases like predictive maintenance, supply chain optimization, fraud detection, and more.

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“The economic potential of AI is limitless,” says Siebel. “C3 AI is empowering organizations to accelerate digital transformation and gain a sustainable competitive advantage through enterprise AI.”

DataRobot is another prominent AI software startup gaining traction. Its AI Cloud platform automates the entire life cycle of building, deploying and maintaining AI models through advanced machine learning techniques. This automated approach addresses the acute shortage of human AI talent bedeviling companies worldwide.

“We aim to put the transformative power of AI into the hands of every organization,” explains Dan Wright, CEO of DataRobot.

Not to be forgotten is Creative Virtual, a company pioneering AI solutions for reimagining customer experience and engagement. Its platform enables enterprises to develop, deploy and optimize AI-powered virtual agents, chatbots, and conversational interfaces that provide human-like interactions at massive scale.

“Our AI models allow brands to deliver a white-glove, personalized experience for customers on any channel and around the clock,” says Chris Ezekiel, founder and CEO of Creative Virtual.

The ETF Route

For investors wanting diversified exposure rather than betting on individual AI stocks, a growing number of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) focused on the space offer an intriguing option.

One such fund is the Global X Artificial Intelligence & Technology ETF (AIQ). As its name suggests, AIQ owns a basket of stocks engaged in AI hardware, software, products and services, including Nvidia, C3.ai and other pure plays. Year-to-date, the fund has outperformed the S&P 500 by about 10 percentage points.

Another compelling choice is the iShares Artificial Intelligence & Technology ETF (ARLG). This ETF follows an index of companies involved in AI development, innovation, and deployment. Its holdings run the gamut from semiconductor giants to cloud platforms to healthcare and automotive AI use cases, allowing investors broad horizontal access to AI-driven growth.

The Risks of the AI Boom

Like any nascent and rapidly evolving sector, the pitfalls of AI investing are substantial and numerous. Chief among them is the inherent difficulty in identifying long-term winners in a space that is seeing relentless innovation disruption and competition. Today’s AI leaders could quickly become obsolete or dethroned by smarter rivals.

There are also concerns around monetization. While companies like OpenAI and Anthropic have generated buzz with their AI models, generating reliable revenue streams and profitability at scale remains an open question. Access to high-quality data and sustained investment will determine who emerges triumphant.

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Regulation poses another wild card risk too. As AI permeates further into sensitive areas like healthcare and finance, global watchdogs will surely crack down on issues of privacy, bias, safety, and other ethical implications. Any new guardrails from governments and agencies could slow AI advancement and upend existing business models.

The insatiable computing power and gargantuan data volumes required to train modern AI models is another critical bottleneck. Power-hungry AI systems are a looming sustainability challenge that companies must begin addressing now.

“AI’s environmental impact could equal or exceed the environmental costs of cryptocurrency mining if cautions aren’t taken,” warns environmental AI advocate Connor Leimes.

Perhaps the greatest risk, however, is AI’s existential implications for how we live and work. While AI has the potential to raise labor productivity and spawn new human jobs, there’s an equal chance it supplants more employment than it creates, leading to social dislocation and inequity.

“If we fail to grapple with AI’s impact on jobs, incomes, and economic justice, we risk losing social trust in the technology and its developers,” notes Daniel Armbrust, former Silicon Valley executive.

The Verdict: Investing in The Great AI Frontier

For all its risks, the AI revolution is irreversibly underway. Pioneering companies are making groundbreaking advancements across a multitude of disciplines. Healthcare breakthroughs, greener transportation, climate change solutions, scientific discoveries – AI stands to turbocharge innovation in ways we can scarcely comprehend.

“AI is going to be one of the most powerful technologies ever created,” asserts Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google. “It has the potential to address some of the biggest challenges facing humanity.”

To profit from this great technological frontier, investors need to carefully weigh the risks vs rewards. Those looking to make concentrated AI bets may opt for pure play semiconductor manufacturers like Nvidia and AMD, or adopt-early software scale-ups like DataRobot and Creative Virtual. The more conservative approach could be investing in a diversified AI ETF, providing exposure to multiple engines powering this disruptive megatrend.

Whichever path is chosen, investors who find the right entry points into this AI boom could be richly rewarded for decades to come. Patient capital and a sound strategy will be imperative to navigating the hype cycles and creative destruction that inevitably marks such transformative revolutions. Those able to capitalize on the AI age stand to reap the harvest sown by human ingenuity and technological progress.

Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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