What A.I. Automation Means for Employment and Your Portfolio

self-driving car

There’s a lot of talk on Wall Street about the future of artificial intelligence and what it means for the economy. Predictions of robots taking jobs away and mass unemployment are contrasted with ideas of a paradise-like society where no one is left wanting for anything. Reality though, likely lies somewhere in between.

There are two sides to this story: investment opportunities and the impact on the workforce. Any new technology means there are investors clamoring for investment opportunities, looking for ways to play the trend early and trying to find where the best A.I. stocks are. On the other hand, widespread automation will certainly impact the workforce, the true extent of which no one really knows.

Investing in A.I.

Experts estimate that the artificial intelligence market will be worth more than $46 billion by 2020 – just three short years away. But the market is still in development with different companies tackling different aspects of the technology. If you want to get in on the ground floor, you need to know where to look.

The first group of companies, Facebook, Apple and Amazon, are all involved with a type of artificial intelligence. This is the technology that learns a users individual tastes and preferences and bases ads and recommendations accordingly. Also, interactive software like Alexa and Siri all part of the emerging field.

Driver-less cars seem to be the next trend in A.I. development, making Alphabet, Tesla, and most automakers a part of it. This type of intelligence is able to map out its surroundings and react to them in real time – a technology with applications in a number of various industries.

The best pure play on artificial intelligence is probably NVIDIA Corporation right now, though. The company designs the Drive PX 2 supercomputer used in driver-less cars and its powerful graphics processors are behind many of the latest A.I. projects in other companies.

The Automated Workforce

What artificial intelligence and automation will bring to the workforce is largely hypothetical at this point, but there are some serious concerns already. The advent of the driver-less car alone could have huge ramifications for a number of industries – most felt by truckers and the transportation industry. Commercial driving may no longer be done by humans in the next 20 or 30 years which means around 9 million people could be out of work within the next few decades. Ideas like the Universal Basic Income plan are already being brandied about by politicians and business leaders who see the difficulties that lie ahead.

The A.I. revolution is still very young, making it difficult to predict what the impact will be over the long term. There needs to be an existing infrastructure before A.I. can truly start being implemented on a widespread basis, meaning that investors can also look at stocks that specialize in this type of industry. Investors who want to get an edge on artificial intelligence should start small and bear in mind that the industry is likely to go through a number of large highs and lows before becoming established as a solid part of the economy.