I, Robot. You, Profit.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the future. While AI hasn't reached futuristic science fiction levels yet, huge sums of money have flowed into developing these marvelous machines.
Despite hiccups, like Microsoft's memorable Tay (the millennial AI bot) and Google and Stanford's bot that cheated to complete its task, these machines could revolutionize, well, everything. And while AI might be gaining traction slowly, research firm Gartner believes it could be worth almost $4 trillion by 2022.
As you'd expect, tech giants, like Google's parent company, Alphabet (Nasdaq: GOOGL), and IBM (NYSE: IBM) are the biggest names in AI. But there are also some companies you might not expect to see developing it...
John Deere (NYSE: DE) already has autonomous tractors on the market. And that tech will only get better with time.
Its subsidiary Blue River Technology is even more interesting. It's developing programs that allow robotic tractors to know when and where to spray pesticides. The really cool thing is the machines process visual data and react accordingly, just like humans.
Google's contributions to AI development are more well-known. DeepMind, a London-based subsidiary of the Silicon Valley giant, has a program called AlphaGo that beat champion Lee Sedol in a five-game match of Go (an ancient Chinese strategy game). The company also has a machine called AlphaZero that can beat the best Go, chess and Shogi (Japanese chess) robots.
DeepMind's machines can do more than play games. The technology is capable of identifying medical conditions, including diabetic eye disease and macular degeneration, in seconds. And that's just one example of the many medical uses for AI.
IBM has also captured headlines with its AI development. In 1997, its Deep Blue computer shocked the world when it beat chess champion Garry Kasparov. Watson, the Jeopardy! champion robot, is currently being used to assist doctors with diagnoses.
But these are only the big boys. There are scores of startups developing AI technology...
Argo AI is developing autonomous vehicles.
CrowdStrike is on the cutting edge of cybersecurity AI.
Chinese firm SenseTime is working on facial recognition software.
And that's just three of them. Our friends at Early Investing are your guides to profiting from the startups building the world of tomorrow. Over the past few years, deregulation of startup investing has given ordinary people, like you and me, the chance to invest in the future.
Few technologies promise to be as revolutionary as AI. While growing pains are inevitable, we're on the cusp of something amazing. Humans have always been innovators - from first discovering fire to creating the technological miracles of modernity...
But AI stands to outdo all of it. Once it reaches its apex, it could catapult us decades or even centuries into the future.
We've never been closer to the future than we are now. The idea of a self-aware machine was pure fiction 20 years ago.
Not so much anymore.