Tough times in the computer chip industry are spurring an innovation revolution the likes of which that sector has never seen, according to some observers. The innovation is coming from industry leaders and from startups alike.
Demand is slowing for many devices that utilize computer chips and the industry in general has been unable to significantly increase performance, resulting in even lower demand.
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Deep Learning To The Rescue
Just as things in the world of chips seemed about to cave in, along came growing interest in and development of an artificial intelligence (AI) technique known as deep learning – a branch of machine learning designed to eventually achieve true brain-like behavior.
This new interest in deep learning has both a good new and a bad news component. Some of the startups leading the charge have had a disruptive influence on the old guard including Intel Corp. (NASDAQ:INTCC), International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBMC) Nvidia Corp. (NASDAQ:NVDAC), Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE:AMDB) and others.
In the midst of all the excitement (and yes, some tension) there are those who suggest the race to achieve full-blown AI quickly may be leaving out an important step – analytics. One corporate manager said, “We’ve had enough bar charts. Nobody has time to digest them anyway. We want our analytics to tell people what to do.”
Those who urge caution note full understanding of analytics is important to being successful with AI. They note that AI and analytics are both fueled by data. Wrong data will not result in good AI, they say.
Some AI Stocks To Watch
Artificial intelligence shows up in different ways, depending on how the company applies the technology and how far along it is in development. Two companies, Alphabet Inc.’s (NASDAQ:GOOGB) Google and Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FBB) use AI in image recognition and to analyze user data. Of the two, Google has used acquisition of startups to gain a foothold. Facebook has relied on its FAIR (Facebook AI Research) unit to create its tools.
In SaaS, Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFTC) and Salesforce.com Inc. (NYSE:CRMC) rely heavily on the cloud to provide the data their respective AI units process. For Microsoft, Office 365 and Skype feed data back to Azure where Microsoft’s AI and Research Group processes it. Salesforce’s interest in AI is to provide companies with AI-driven analytics that “get smarter with every interaction.”