In 1880, when Thomas Edison’s electric lamp prototype was patented, the world experienced an unprecedented shift. The domestic use of electricity became universal as the world massively switched from the gaslight era into the electrical age.
The rise of artificial intelligence in the 21st century has started a new era that is expected to change the course of the world. AI is being hyped as it systematically changes the way things are done – or at least promises to. It affects people, processes, and systems significantly, which contributes to the fervor.
Businesses today are taking advantage of this revolutionary technology to better their systems. In a competitive technological world, having any kind of edge is important, whether it’s a product that performs slightly better than the competitor or highly responsive customer service for example. AI promises companies opportunities for betterment.
Players in the AI field
Microsoft (MSFT) has long been an active player in AI research, incorporating AI technology into its products and services such as Microsoft 365, Azure, Microsoft Defender, and Power Platform. From developers and software engineers to healthcare companies and academic institutions, the use of Microsoft products is prevalent. As Microsoft actively implements AI in its products, the AI utilization ultimately benefits its existing users. The company also emphasizes the importance of using AI technology responsibly. Operating on principles of privacy, transparency, and accountability, Microsoft aims to develop technology that leaves a positive impact on the world.
In another development, Adobe Sensei GenAI is an AI and machine learning tool designed to automate tasks on various Adobe platforms. It reduces the manual burden of art creation for marketers, photographers, and creators. Adobe’s (ADBE) Generative AI tool, Firefly, can convert a text prompt into an image quickly. Creators can convert flat images to 3D images, apply text effects, and use generative fill in their photos.
Experiencing a remarkable 63% upswing over the last half-year, Adobe stands out as one of the prominent software stocks in its domain. Owing to its advancements in the GenAI space, Gregg Moskowitz has upgraded Adobe position from Neutral to Buy, and raised the price target to $630. BofA securities has also upgraded Adobe to Buy from its previous Neutral rating.
Cybersecurity is a crucial part of AI, and companies such as Crowdstrike (CRWD) and Zscaler (ZS) are also implementing AI and machine learning models to aid in real-time threat detection. The rise of AI usage brings with it various security risks. Users of AI platforms can unknowingly feed sensitive company data into these AI tools. One product is Zscaler’s Zero Trust Exchange which allows businesses to create and enforce policies for the use of generative AI sites and tools – allowing safe usage of these sites.
Crowdstrike utilizes AI-generated alert signals to investigate security threats. The company is using AI-powered indicators of attack (IOAs) to predict and stop advanced threats.
ZS fourth-quarter earnings, billings, and revenue exceeded Wall Street targets. Stock analysts expected earnings of 49 cents per share, while the reported earnings came out at 64 cents per share – a 156% increase from last year. Additionally, keeping customers engaged is an important aspect of every business. With costs rising and challenges in retaining employees, companies are turning towards AI to deliver a large part of their customer service.
A 2020 McKinsey research report estimates that AI technologies have the potential to deliver up to $1 trillion of additional value each year as AI technology can analyze large amounts of customer data, provide personalized solutions, and solve customer problems.
For example, Salesforce (CRM) is solving the challenges of customer service through an AI solution built into a CRM. Service Cloud Einstein uses machine learning, artificial learning, and predictive analysis to learn from customer’s past data. Salesforce’s annual event Dreamforce is hosting 30 sessions around the topic of AI. Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI—the creator of ChatGPT is one of the top speakers at the conference.
A look ahead
Google’s (GOOGL) CEO Sundar Pichai has long been vocal about the influence of AI in various domains. He considers AI to be one of the biggest technological shifts in our lifetimes. Only last year, Google launched Bard – an experimental AI chatbot. It uses large amounts of data to generate intelligent and fresh responses. A million people are already using generative AI in Google Workspace to create and collaborate on Docs, Slides, Sheets, Meet, and Chat.
Furthermore, hiring for AI talent has become a hot pursuit among businesses of all sizes. In the coming months, more companies will add AI talent to build and implement this technology in their processes and workflows. Companies like Intel, Samsung, Lenovo (LNVGF), Facebook (META), EY, IBM, NVIDIA (NVDA), and others are all in a race to add machine learning and Generative AI experts to their teams.
Looking ahead, as the demand for AI increases, candidates and employees will also be pushed to upskill. Trailhead – Salesforce’s platform for AI learning encourages employees to brush up their AI skills to become more productive and innovative.
While AI brings with it a transformational era, it also has its own set of complications and risks. Companies will have to create products and services keeping ethical usage in mind. Additionally, the security risks around AI can become prevalent and more sophisticated as the technology becomes more mainstream. Businesses must adopt technologies and take preventative measures to avoid security breaches.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.