Artificial intelligence, or AI as it is often called, is often thought of as the stuff of science fiction. In reality, however, researchers at various companies are working on AI systems, and limited, “dumb” artificial intelligence systems are already being used in a variety of ways.
Artificial intelligence, and a related field called machine learning (more on that later) could turn out to revolutionize the world. While it’s fun to debate what that means, and to fantasize about it with science fiction pieces, investors should focus more on the dollars. AI and machine learning could present huge opportunities to turn profits.
Companies Leading the Way in AI Research
Big companies have already recognized the potential of artificial intelligence, and have been buying up smaller AI companies, or else starting up their own internal AI divisions. Many of the names are the “usual” suspects for tech acquisitions, such as Google and Facebook.
By and large, Google is the elephant in the room (or more accurately, on the web). Google is a Goliath and is one of the largest and most innovative companies in the world. It is also a major investor in AI technology, having acquired numerous companies. Google’s artificial intelligence capabilities are among the most advanced and powerful in the world.
Another leader, and perhaps a bit of a surprise as far as this list is concerned, is Twitter. The popular but perhaps fading social media giant has been acquiring several small AI companies. Twitter has been looking for ways to diversify away from its primary social media platform, so this should come as no surprise.
Facebook has also been increasing its presence in the artificial intelligence field. The company is also trying to diversify and recognizes that its social media platform may not always be such an immense cash cow. For investors, it’s important to pay attention to companies and their future plans. Companies that adapt well to changing times and technologies are more likely to be successful.
Other big players include AOL, Intel, and a host of other technology firms. These firms all recognize that artificial intelligence is the future and are investing in it. Of course, not all investors will be successful, and some companies have been losing ground over the past few years. Markets are very competitive, and losers ultimately lose.
Take IBM, for example. The company was once a leader in computers, servers, processors, and artificial intelligence, among many other things. These days, IBM has sold off much of its hardware business, and has fallen behind with its software, research, and artificial intelligence programs. Unsurprisingly, the company’s stock and reputation have both declined substantially over the past few years.
Artificial Intelligence Being Used as Trading Tool
So what is artificial intelligence anyways? Originally, it was the idea of a man-created consciousness. This is still largely true, and such an intelligence represents the pinnacle of AI. Now, however, scientists are working on software programs that can adapt and learn, which is often called machine learning. Many considered this to be AI. This type of artificial intelligence software is already available.
An Unconscious Data Cruncher
A wide range of fields are already using “dumb” artificial intelligence, or AI systems that are able to compute and react according to data, but lack a true consciousness. Whether you count this as true artificial intelligence, or as something different is up to debate.
A Learning Machine Handy for Investors
These dumb AI systems use inputs of data to react and refine their actions. This is sometimes referred to as machine learning because the computer programs themselves are able to “learn” as they go.
For example, you could set up signalling software that has an ability to learn on its own. The software can monitor for factors and trades that are successful. When the program succeeds, it can learn what produced profits. When the program fails, it can learn from its mistakes.
This type of artificial intelligence software could come in very handy for investors. Stock markets and financial markets are extremely complex and there is simply too much data for investors to try to handle on their own. Software, however, and especially intelligent software that is designed to crunch big data, could prove very powerful and would be able to handle even immense loads of data.
Eventually, even more powerful computers, so-called quantum computing computers, will be able to crunch even more data. These computers use something called quantum mechanics. This refers to extremely advanced physics theories, to achieve processing powers far, far in excess of current computers. These computers may be able to do things that we can’t even imagine right now. What impact they’ll have for investors and financial markets remains unknown.