My introduction to artificial intelligence application ChatGPT involved instructions to write 500 words “in the style of Scott Barlow” and the software happily obliged in a way that was disconcertingly accurate. It was clear that either my columns had been fed into the app or it knew to read them quickly and mimic the style. I felt immediately linked to the technology.
According to Fortune magazine, Microsoft is investing US$10-billion in OpenAI, the developers of ChatGPT, and will eventually own 49 per cent of the company. A version of Microsoft’s Bing search engine that includes ChatGPT-like functionality is already being previewed.
Morgan Stanley analyst Keith Weiss estimates that every percentage point in market share that Microsoft gains from Google is worth US$2-billion in annual revenues. Microsoft is clearly the easiest way to invest in the proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI), specifically what are called large language models like ChatGPT.
Search engines are one of the few businesses where success could move the profitability needle for a tech giant like Microsoft. But I am less interested in AI as an investment (so far) compared with its potential to change jobs like mine and behaviour generally. Podcast host Derek Thompson called it “a calculator, but for creativity” which seemingly opens up a whole new world of functionality.
I will be testing the new Bing search engine as soon as it becomes available. For those looking for more information on the topic of AI, Mr. Thompson’s podcast is available here (they refer 2022 as The Year of Artificial Intelligence), and investors should stay tuned for an upcoming related podcast from the Globe and Mail’s The Decibel.
-- Scott Barlow, Globe and Mail market strategist
Also see: Retail investors flock to small-cap AI firms as Big Tech battles for share
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