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AI investment opportunity: There is life beyond the ‘magnificent seven’

Jeff Kagan is a telecom, technology and wireless analyst and consultant. Follow him at JeffKagan.com and on Twitter @jeffkagan.
Jeff Kagan is a telecom, technology and wireless analyst and consultant. Follow him at JeffKagan.com and on Twitter @jeffkagan.

Many smaller companies will be contributing to the explosive growth in artificial intelligence. How can you spot the next ChatGPT?

The evolution of AI has only just begun. Growth was strong in 2023, but we are still in the very early stages of this next level of technology. That means investors, customers, workers, the media and the general public are just beginning to wrap their minds around what it all means.

So, let’s take a look at where we are today and what we can expect in 2024 in the world of artificial intelligence. What does 2024 hold for stocks and AI?

AI started out decades ago like a big pie with no slices. But each year there are different slices of this pie being carved out. Different categories of AI. That trend will continue and expand.

While each slice is important and represents a different segment, the fact is they are not all equal. Some are more important than others. Some will last longer than others as the entire AI movement continues to advance.

The ‘magnificent seven’ AI companies show growth

There is a new list of AI leaders called the “magnificent seven”: Alphabet GOOG , Amazon AMZN , Apple AAPL , Meta Platforms META , Microsoft MSFT , Nvidia NVDA and Tesla TSLA .

These companies are in the sweet spot today and going forward. Plus, this list will continue to swell. As you can see, only some of these are developers of AI technology. These are all heavy-duty players in the new economy, and they are not going away.

But the actual world of artificial intelligence is much larger. Several other important players include Symbiotic SYM , Upstart Holdings UPST , C3.ai AI , Vertiv Holdings VRT , Micron Technology MU , Qualcomm QCOM , Huawei, Taiwan Semiconductor TSM , Adobe ADBE and Super Micro Computer SMCI . Check out Qualcomm’s AI Blog.

And more are entering the space every day. Most are smaller companies that are not as well-known. Companies with important technologies who are not deeply financed. The challenge for each is to be noticed in a very noisy marketplace.

The first to meet that challenge was OpenAI, which created ChatGPT. It gets funding from, among others, Microsoft, which owns roughly half of the company. That gives this startup the strength to remain financially secure as it continues to develop its technology. That also gives Microsoft the ability to have a ground-floor opportunity to not only use but direct the development of this technology.

Other startups will be looking to follow in OpenAI’s footsteps. Now is the time to stay alert for these new opportunities. This will continue to be a rapidly growing industry. There will be plenty of long-term opportunities, but there will also be plenty of shooting stars, bright for the moment, but then quickly fading away.

AI industry can be both exhilarating and exasperating

It is important to pull the camera back and get a historical perspective of the entire, rapidly changing and expanding AI industry. 

AI has been around for longer than most realize. Over decades, there have been many ups and downs. Only recently has this technology really piqued the interest of the marketplace. Only recently have things really seemed to explode with growth. And that growth will only continue to expand.

In fact, today we all use AI, but don’t realize it. Every time we pick up a phone and call customer service, we interact with a machine. Every time we purchase something online, do research, search for news on a topic, or do an increasing number of ordinary things, we are using one level of AI or another.

This makes AI as an industry both exhilarating and exasperating. In this kind of environment, you want to be in the part of the industry that is always growing. That’s why you want to choose a sector and companies who are on the long growth wave.

AI continues rapid growth here in the United States and worldwide. Some countries and companies are taking a more measured approach, trying to ensure safety and that they remain in control. Others are taking an all-in and rapid growth approach. They are focused on being first, fastest and largest. They want growth and leadership and are not as concerned with ramifications and what is coming next.

What we need is a bit of both. Rapid, but responsible, growth. We need to remain in control while we let the natural forces of this new industry evolve.

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