Financial markets can be very warm in their welcome to world-changing technologies, but history is littered with cases where they went too far. Investors were right to predict the importance of the Internet, but not when they flocked to buying technology stocks associated with the newborn network: so-called dot com they were the first big bubble to burst in the 21st century.
Few doubt that the electric car is destined to dominate the roads in the coming decades, but Lucid, Nikola or Rivian, manufacturers of 100% rechargeable vehicles, have spent a year to forget. Because they are not profitable, because Tesla has long since taken the lead and can afford to wage a price war, and because the rest of the industry, equipped in many cases with great financial muscle, also aspires to get its share of the pie.
Now there are two magic words: artificial intelligence (AI). Any company related to the sector quickly merges with the dollar symbol in the eyes of Wall Street. It is not even necessary that it be your main activity to unleash speculative movements. The most surprising case has been carried out by the American portal of viral articles BuzzFeed. At the end of January, it announced that it would use OpenAI’s ChatGPT system to improve its questionnaires and create other content, a task that until now was done by human employees. Madness broke out immediately: his actions, heavily punished in recent times, multiplied their value by four in two days.
The euphoria cooled soon after. BuzzFeed lost half its capitalization in the days following its frenetic rise, but it’s still trading at almost double what it was before it announced its leap into AI, despite no sign yet that the move will substantially improve its number. of business. Comcast, one of the group’s large shareholders, does not seem to see it as a panacea: it took advantage of the stock market heat to drop a good package of shares and reduce its stake from 24% to 15.5%. He did it even losing money, since he bought them in 2015 and 2016 at a much higher price than they are now, a sign that he is not optimistic about the possibility of recovering his investment, no matter how much ChatGPT is used, and only seeks to minimize losses.
The BuzzFeed phenomenon has been the most striking case of speculation associated with AI, but it is not the only firm that is seeing how the fever reaches for everything that bears those initials. The Californian Soundhound AI, specialized in voice recognition and natural language processing solutions, accumulates a revaluation close to 150% so far in 2023, and its capitalization is now almost 700 million dollars.
On its website, it encourages restaurants to use its new voice assistant. “While your staff cooks, cleans, serves food and provides exceptional customer service, SoundHound’s voice assistant is on the phone answering menu questions and taking orders, increasing the number of orders processed and adding value to your business. ”. It also offers solutions for customer service centers, hotel room services, and as a voice assistant for the car. “Find me a Mexican restaurant on my way home that has at least four stars, takes takeout, and isn’t a taco shop,” he cites as an example of how he can be helpful to drive-by customers.
The also Californian C3.ai It is another one that has had a brilliant start to the year. This software provider, however, has a more established profile. Its partners include Microsoft, Alphabet and Amazon. Its tools serve different industries: they allow banks to spend less time on loan applications, help prevent failures in the electrical network, and are capable of optimizing the use of the airline fleet, as stated on the page of It is signed by its CEO, Tom Siebel. “The software can use telemetry data connected to sensors on the plane to perform predictive maintenance and increase aircraft availability by 50%,” he calculates. Its shares have risen 148% in price since January 1, valuing it at $3 billion.
Amid extensive media coverage, and major corporate deals like Microsoft’s $10 billion investment in OpenAI, it’s hard to find any company in the industry that is doing poorly. BigBear AI, based in Maryland (USA), rises 335% on the stock market this year. The AI software company has among its clients the United States Army, medical centers that it helps to manage their free beds, or industries that it assists in managing their supply chains.
The shock wave goes beyond pure AI actors. The American Nvidia, one of the largest chip makers in the world, is benefiting from the pull by establishing itself as the great supplier of processors for this field. During the presentation of its results, its CEO, Jensen Huang, said that the use of its chips to power artificial intelligence services such as chatbots has skyrocketed in the last two months. The shares grow 65% in 2023, which in his case has more merit, since it is a giant now valued at more than 550,000 million euros. Its evolution contrasts with that of rivals in the semiconductor sector such as Intel, which has lagged far behind in AI immersion. It has lost 3% on the Nasdaq index so far this year, and has announced a dividend cut.
For the Microsoft-Google duo, who are now waging the main battle to master generative artificial intelligence, the incidence of these movements on the stock market is lower. Mainly because their size and diversification make them less volatile, and their evolution depends on many other sources of income, such as the cloud, programs to install on PCs, advertising, or their search business. That does not mean that they are not affected: Google paid dearly for an error in Bard’s response, the intelligent chat with which it intends to deal with Microsoft’s ChatGPT. When asked on February 8 about the latest discoveries of the space telescope James Webb and his answer was wrong, the shares of his parent Alphabet plummeted 7%. That is to say, 100,000 million of value on the stock market vanished.
Money moves nervously and impatiently in search of the winners of the artificial intelligence revolution. Many of them probably don’t even exist yet, others will disappear along the way. Whoever finds one of the victors before he is known—something as complicated as finding a needle in a haystack—is likely to multiply his capital. This is what happened when the Internet exploded with those who entered a small startup who sold books online called Amazon.
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