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Jeff Kagan: AI Analyst Sees Growth Wave Accelerating

So, is the future of AI good or bad?
Equities columnist Jeff Kagan is a telecom, technology and wireless analyst and consultant. He covers 5G, AI, IoT, the metaverse, autonomous driving, healthcare, telehealth, pay TV and more. Follow him at and on Twitter @jeffkagan and LinkedIn.
Equities columnist Jeff Kagan is a telecom, technology and wireless analyst and consultant. He covers 5G, AI, IoT, the metaverse, autonomous driving, healthcare, telehealth, pay TV and more. Follow him at and on Twitter @jeffkagan and LinkedIn.

Image via PROWorld Economic Forum/Flickr CC

Artificial intelligence or AI is one of the newest and fastest growing segments today. In fact, it’s one of the fastest growing job roles. As such, you would think every company and technology in this new space would be at the top of their game as we rush full speed into this uncharted territory. However, like with other rapidly growing sectors, that’s not the case.

As an industry analyst, I meet with many companies in the AI space who want to get on my radar. They want me to talk about them and help them tell their story. I see many very interesting stories, but not all will be winners. AI is on the growing side of the growth wave I always talk about. And I see the AI industry in general showing continued and rapid growth.

That said, every company and every technology will not grow at the same pace. Some may grow rapidly, while others may not grow at all. It all depends on the company, segment of AI they are in, the product set and technology and how well they can attract positive attention to themselves in the marketplace, the media and the investment community through the media and analyst community.

If AI is Growing, Why Isn’t IBM Watson?

If that’s the case, why when there are large companies like IBM (IBM), with long lived and very strong brands struggling with their stock price when they have leading AI technology like IBM Watson? That’s got everyone scratching their heads. Especially IBM executives, investors and competitors.

The AI industry analyst community looks at things from a variety of different directions. They measure and compare the artificial intelligence industry to others. They offer opinions and make predictions of industry direction and growth based on research and knowledge of this industry and similar industries. They look for trends that impact companies and technologies.

As an AI analyst, I’ve seen this kind of growth wave before. You see I am also a telecom and wireless analyst over the last 30 years. I first watched telecom, then wireless follow similar growth waves over three decades of growth, change and transformation.

Image via Clockready/Wikimedia

AI Analyst Says Industry Will Continue to Grow in Importance

Today, the wireless industry is very different from decades ago, yet it continues to expand and grow in new ways like AI and IoT. I see wireless continuing its growth wave for many years to come. Although it’s growth path will continue change over time.

As an AI analyst, I look at old and new companies and new technologies. I look for what’s new. Look at who is winning, who is losing, why and what’s coming next? And there is always something bigger and better coming next.

So many companies in the AI space contact me trying to get on my radar. With that said, I see many similarities between the AI industry and the wireless industry. Today in AI, we are at the same place we were in wireless back in the early 1990’s.

Back then, wireless had been with us for a decade or two. It was struggling to evolve past the analog wireless telephone stage. In the late 1990’s it eventually went digital and the race was on. We moved from 2G to 3G to 4G and now we are rushing to 5G with the wireless data network leading the charge.

We are in the early stages of this same kind of growth wave with AI. It has been with us for decades already, but AI is now starting its more public and rapid growth phase. Suddenly the ice berg that was under water is growing and popped its head above water level.

The part of AI we can see today is just a tiny bit of what it actually is. There is still a massive iceberg under water we cannot see. With that said, AI is already with us. It has been with us for quite a while. And it will continue to grow in importance and influence as our society transforms going forward.

That means it’s time we all get up to speed on the AI growth wave. To educate the marketplace and bring investors, customers, workers and partners up to speed. That may be one of IBM’s problems with their share price. Watson is an incredible technology that should let IBM see rapid growth. Although that has not happened yet.

Let me share a few examples to help you understand what I am saying. AI is already in all our lives today, and it is rapidly expanding.

Think about all the customer service 800 numbers you call. You don’t talk with a live person, at least at first. You talk to AI. A computer. This was very frustrating years ago, but has gotten much better today. It still has a long way to go, but we are already talking with computers using AI.

AI is also behind most of those annoying telemarketing calls we all get every day. You pick up the phone and think you are talking to a live person for the first moment, until you realize they are a recording and all you can do is answer with options. This is another version of AI.

AI is also the intelligent digital assistants behind wireless services like Apple (AAPL) Siri, Google (GOOGL) Now and Microsoft (MSFT) Cortana. They are also behind the (AMZN) Echo and Alexa and Google Home. These are all brand new, but as you can see, they will continue to get stronger and better and be more important going forward.

Artificial Intelligence Analyst Says AI is Both Good and Bad

So, is the future of AI good or bad? If you listen to Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon or Mark Zuckerberg CEO of Facebook (FB), you understand the kind of future they see with AI on center stage.

On the other hand, if you listen to others like Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla (TSLA) with his warnings about AI, you also understand that this may not be a totally rosy road ahead.

I believe both sides of the AI debate may be accurate. We may see good and bad as AI continues to develop. Let me explain. Think of AI like the Internet, full of both good and bad. The Internet is amazing as it can answer your questions in an instant, but it also has a dark side as well that we must protect ourselves from.

I see the same future for AI. There will be both great strides ahead, and there will be plenty of potholes in the road ahead. Good and bad. The technology will be very helpful, but bad guys will also use it to hurt us. AI may even grow to the point where it can no longer be controlled. We will have to be very careful as we step forward into this new area.

We just don’t know what is coming around the corner with AI. We never do as we move ahead. Yet we continue to move ahead with the Internet, and we will continue to move ahead with AI as well.

I will be following and talking about and writing about this new and exciting space, companies and innovations. About the AI growth wave, watching company after company and technology after technology grow, crest and fall, only to be replaced by the next wave. About good and bad investments, as AI transforms the world as we know it going forward. Join me.

Jeff Kagan is an columnist. Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst, speaker and consultant. He follows wireless, wire line, telecom, Internet, cable TV, IPTV, Cloud, Mobile Pay, FinTech and communications technology. Email him at [email protected] His web site is Follow him on Twitter @jeffkagan.

The astronomer Carl Sagan said, “It was easy to predict mass car ownership but hard to predict Walmart.”