Investors should be paying more attention to Google’s efforts in artificial intelligence, according to Carlos Kirjner of Sanford Bernstein, the No. 1 analyst covering the internet sector.
Business Insider on Wednesday published a feature asking some of the best equity analysts in the US a handful of key questions.
All of the analysts ranked as the best in their sector in Institutional Investor’s 44th annual #1 All-American Equity Research Team.
One of the questions focused on the key theme in the sector that everyone else is missing. For Kirjner, that thing is AI at Google.
“Nobody is paying attention to that because it is not an issue that will play out in the next few quarters, but longer term it is a big, big opportunity for them,” he said.
“Google’s investments in artificial intelligence, above and beyond the use of machine learning to improve character, photo, video and sound classification, could be so revolutionary and transformational to the point of raising ethical questions.”
Elephant in the room
Even if investors and analysts haven’t been closely monitoring Google’s developments in AI, the internet giant is devoted to the project. During the company’s third-quarter earnings call, CEO Sundar Pichai told investors the company planned to integrate AI more deeply within its core business.
“Machine learning is a core, transformative way by which we’re rethinking how we’re doing everything,” Pichai said.
“We are thoughtfully applying it across all our products, be it search, ads, YouTube, or Play. And we’re in early days, but you will see us — in a systematic way — apply machine learning in all these areas.”
AI is already the brains behind Google’s translation program, voice search, image-recognition software, and email spam filters.
And now, the tech giant could be making a bigger and more direct play for market share in the artificial-intelligence sector.
In November, Google released an open-source platform for artificial intelligence, allowing anyone with a computer and internet connection to access TensorFlow.
To some investors, open sourcing the platform was a strategic move that looked a lot like a replay of the rollout of phone operating system Android in 2007. Android is also open source.
Now it has an 83% market share according to the International Data Corporation, running on HTC, LG, and Samsung phones among others.
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