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ChatGPT illustration. (Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

To paraphrase Will Ferrell’s dialogue as fashion designer Jacobim Mugatu in the 2001 Ben Stiller comedy, Zoolander, ChatGPT is so hot right now. The artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot conducts nearly human-like conversations and performs language-based tasks that makes Siri look like an imbecile—from writing academic papers to generating social media captions and helping students raise their grade point averages by authoring better history essays. ChatGPT has focused society and the investment world squarely on the potential power of AI in the very near future.

This power goes well beyond fun wordplay. There are numerous business applications for AI, ranging from early detection of disease in humans to real-time data analytics that can streamline manufacturing processes.

With all that potential, some investing experts are tagging AI as the “next big thing” in technology (even though AI goes back to the 1950s). Want in? Below are 12 AI stocks to research, plus a quick review of popular AI business applications and the AI terms you need to know.

Best AI Stocks To Buy

There’s more than one way to position your portfolio to benefit from a continuing AI revolution. You can invest in companies that build AI hardware, develop AI solutions or sell AI development tools. Or, you can invest in companies that use AI to make better products, improve their marketing or create efficiencies.

Fortunately, you have quality options in both categories—including a few stocks you already know. Let’s dive in.

1. Adobe (ADBE)

Adobe Headquarters in San Jose, California.

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Adobe makes software for content creation, marketing, data analytics, document management, and publishing. Its flagship product, Creative Cloud, is a suite of design software sold via subscription.

In 2022, Adobe announced new AI and machine learning (ML) capabilities in its Experience Cloud product, a marketing and analytics suite. These advancements include predictive capabilities that help sales and marketing teams understand how the different facets of marketing campaigns affect customers’ buying decisions. They can use that information to optimize campaigns and their budgets.

2. Alphabet (GOOGL)

Google parent Alphabet recently launched a test version of its own AI chatbot called Bard, which functions like ChatGPT. Ask it a question and Bard quickly accesses, compiles and summarizes online information to provide an answer.

Some see this as the next evolution of search. Rather than querying a search engine to receive a selection of webpages to view, you get one answer that’s both simple and complete.

Unfortunately for Alphabet, Bard botched its test launch. In a short demo video intended to showcase Bard’s power, the chatbot gave an incorrect answer. Clearly, Alphabet has some work to do on its technology.

Outside of Bard, Alphabet offers business AI tools and infrastructure through its Google cloud computing unit.

3. Amazon (AMZN)

Amazon delivers AI and ML services and infrastructure through Amazon Web Services (AWS). The e-commerce giant also uses AI in its own online store to make product recommendations. Alexa, the virtual assistant of Echo devices, is AI powered.

4. Baidu (BIDU)

Beijing, China – January 28, 2016: Screenshot of the homepages of Google and Baidu, the leading search engines around the world and China.

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Baidu is a Chinese tech company that operates the largest search engine in China. In early February, Baidu announced it would launch its own AI chatbot in March. The chatbot, known as ERNIE bot in English and Wenxin Yiyan in Chinese, uses a language model Baidu developed internally.

Baidu has been investing in AI for years. Like Amazon and Google, Baidu also has a cloud computing unit that supports various AI capabilities.

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5. C3 AI (AI)

C3 AI provides SaaS (software as a service) applications to develop, deploy and run enterprise-scale AI applications. Offerings include purpose-driven software suites for supply chain optimization and energy efficiency, and industry-specific solutions for financial services and oil and gas.

Notably, C3 has a partnership with Alphabet. Together, the two companies develop new AI applications using Google Cloud infrastructure and resources. All C3 AI applications are also available on Google Cloud.

6. IBM (IBM)

IBM, through its Watson products, sells AI and ML services that help its customers make better decisions and more money. The portfolio of Watson AI solutions include AI applications that improve customer service while cutting costs, predict outcomes and automate workflow processes. Enterprise customers can alternatively use IBM’s Watson Studio to build and scale proprietary AI applications.

IBM has also made several AI acquisitions over the last several years, including Turbonomic, Instana and Databand.ai.

7. Micron Technology (MU)

Micron Technology makes high-performance memory and storage hardware that powers AI solutions. The chipmaker’s products are used in data centers and self-driving cars.

Micron strengthened its AI portfolio when it purchased startup FWDNXT in 2019. FWDNXT hardware and software solutions power deep learning solutions and neural networks.

8. Microsoft (MSFT)

Microsoft has been investing in OpenAI, the company that developed ChatGPT, since 2019. The partnership began with a $1 billion investment and the agreement that Microsoft exclusively would provide cloud computing services to the AI lab. In January 2023, Microsoft announced it would extend the OpenAI partnership into a “multiyear, multibillion-dollar investment.”

Microsoft also has a stated goal to make AI technology universally accessible through its Azure cloud computing platform.

And, like Alphabet, Microsoft recently debuted an AI chatbot for its search engine Bing. Unfortunately, Bing’s chatbot also failed the accuracy test. As reported by Dmitri Brereton, the chatbot misstated financial information pulled from Gap and Lululemon quarterly reports.

9. Nvidia (NVDA)

NVIDIA microchip on the motherboard

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Nvidia makes high-performance microchips that power AI software and services. In October Nvidia announced it would expand its long-running AI collaboration with Oracle. As part of the deal, Oracle uses Nvidia’s full AI platform—chips, systems and software—in its Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, a competitor to Amazon’s AWS. The goal is to broaden access to AI capabilities for Oracle’s enterprise customers and encourage AI innovation.

In a news release Nvidia founder described rising business demand for AI platforms this way: “Accelerated computing and AI are key to tackling rising costs in every aspect of operating businesses. Enterprises are increasingly turning to cloud-first AI strategies that enable fast development and scalable deployment.”

10. Oracle (ORCL)

Oracle provides cloud computing infrastructure, software and hardware, including the AI-capable Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. As noted, the company recently expanded its partnership with chipmaker Nvidia to expand the AI capabilities it offers to enterprise customers.

11. Palantir (PLTR)

Alex Karp, CEO of Palantir arrives ahead of a “Tech For Good” meetup at Hotel Marigny in Paris on May 15, 2019. (Photo by Bertrand GUAY / AFP)

BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images

Palantir operates AI data mining platforms for government agencies and enterprise businesses. Gotham, Palantir’s government platform, finds patterns in disparate data so intelligence teams can locate and respond to terrorism threats. Unconfirmed sources say Gotham played a role in capturing Osama bin Laden in 2011.

Businesses use Palantir Foundry to house, transform and manipulate organizational data to streamline processes and make better decisions.

Palantir went public in 2020 and recently reported its first profitable quarter (fourth quarter 2022).

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12. Tesla (TSLA)

Amid the ChatGPT buzz, fund manager Cathie Wood says Tesla is the best AI stock out there. Wood made the argument for Tesla in an interview with Yahoo Finance in early February.

Wood believes the companies to benefit most from the AI revolution are those with massive proprietary data sets, domain expertise, plus AI know-how. Tesla ticks those boxes. The EV maker has the world’s largest pool of driving data. That data, combined with AI modeling power, can be used to launch and win new industries. In this case, autonomous taxis are at the top of the list. (Note that Wood’s firm Ark Invest owns 4.6 million shares of Tesla, per SEC filings.)

AI And Machine Learning Funds

If you don’t want to invest in individual AI stocks, you can alternatively invest in AI exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Four funds to research are Global X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence ETF (BOTZ), ROBO Global Robotics & Automation ETF (ROBO), iShares Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Multisector ETF (IRBO), and ARK Autonomous Tech & Robotics ETF (ARKQ).

1. BOTZ

As of February, BOTZ holds 43 global stocks. All are positioned for gains as robotics and AI adoption rises. Sector exposure is primarily in technology, industry and healthcare. More than 40% of the holdings are U.S. companies, but there is also double-digit exposure to Japan and Switzerland. BOTZ has an expense ratio of 0.68%.

2. ROBO

ROBO owns 80 stocks that are advancing robotics and AI innovation. The fund’s largest holding, Harmonic Drive Systems, comprises less than 2.5% of the portfolio. Other top holdings include IPG Photonics, Kardex Holding, Zebra Technologies, and ServiceNow. ROBO’s expense ratio is 0.98%.

3. IRBO

IRBO is the most diversified of these AI funds with 118 holdings as of February. Roughly half are U.S. companies, but there’s also double-digit exposure to China and Japan. No single stock makes up more than 2% of the portfolio. Top ten holdings include Spotify, Meta Platforms and Baidu. IRBO’s expense ratio is an efficient 0.47%.

4. ARKQ

Wood’s ARKQ invests in 30 to 50 companies that develop or support autonomous transportation, robotics and automation, 3D printing, energy storage and space exploration. U.S. companies make up almost 90% of the fund and Tesla is the top holding. The expense ratio is 0.75%.

How Do Companies Use AI Technology

Companies can use AI to find patterns across huge data sets. From those patterns, they can identify opportunities to improve customer experiences and outcomes, operate more efficiently, develop new products and services, and sell more existing products and services.

On a more granular level, there are many simple AI uses you may already experience or participate in. These include:

  • Dynamic product recommendations on ecommerce websites. Online retailers can recommend products you personally are likely to buy. The recommendations are based on data they collect as you browse their website.
  • Customer service chatbots. AI-powered chatbots can interpret questions and access data behind the scenes to serve up an original and concise answer.
  • Content marketing. Businesses can use AI to design and implement complex content campaigns to engage customers and drive sales.
  • Sentiment analysis. Companies can monitor many data sources, including social media, survey feedback and customer service logs, to understand how people feel about their brands.
  • Dynamic pricing. In real-time, AI can identify the highest-value price points for products based on personal shopping behaviors, time of day, the device you’re using to browse an online store, etc.
  • Sales forecasting. AI can forecast sales based on customer data and the composition of marketing spend.
  • Cybersecurity. Credit card companies use AI to identify potentially fraudulent charges. Cybersecurity teams also use AI to crunch data from many sources to prioritize threats, so they can deploy resources efficiently.

AI Lingo

AI terms can feel jargony and intimidating. Don’t let that stand in the way of your investment research. Here’s a quick review of some lingo you’ll run across:

  • Artificial intelligence or AI is the automation of processes and tasks that were previously done by humans.
  • Machine learning or ML is a subset of AI. ML is the ability for computers to adapt and update processes by analyzing data and statistics.
  • Neural networks are AI algorithms that computers use to approach problem-solving like a human brain.
  • Deep learning is a subset of ML, and it’s powered by layers of neural networks. Deep learning models, once trained, can analyze complex data sets without human intervention.
  • Natural language processing or NLP is also a subset of AI. NLP is the ability for computers to understand and generate human language.
  • Data science is the general discipline of organizing and analyzing massive data sets.
  • Generative AI refers to algorithms that can create new content. ChatGPT is an example of generative AI.

AI Stocks For 2023 And Beyond

The far-reaching potential of AI is exciting. Some of the more complex data science applications could usher in major changes to healthcare, cybersecurity and foreign intelligence. Still, the disappointing performance of the Google Bard and Bing remind us that the technology isn’t fully refined.

If you invest in AI in 2023, keep a long-term view with those holdings. While AI may be the next big thing to generate massive wealth in the stock market, it won’t happen tomorrow. Give yourself a five-year timeline and—as always with investing—be ready for some volatility along the way.

12 Stocks to Buy Now

Looking for undervalued stocks with big potential upside? Forbes’ top investment experts share the names of mispriced stocks poised to surge in this exclusive report, 7 Best Stocks To Buy Now. Click here to download it before the Wall Street wakes up to the stocks’ true value.

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