Technical executives can’t stop talking about AI after the success of ChatGPT

The pace of AI chatter from executives is picking up after the success of ChatGPT, and it’s not all from Big Tech.

Big tech companies like Microsoft Corp., Meta Platforms Inc., and Alphabet Inc. are understandably among the biggest players discussing AI on this quarter’s earnings conference call, but companies in other sectors are also getting in on the action. While the number of earnings calls mentioning AI has declined since this point a year ago, the number of mentions of AI has risen sharply, led by tech giants who are speaking much more about their ability to ‘AI.

There have been 99 earnings calls for companies worth at least $5 billion in which artificial intelligence, or AI, has earned at least one mention so far this year, up from 111 so far in 2022, according to a MarketWatch analysis. of AlphaSense /Sentieo transcription data. But this year’s calls resulted in 466 total mentions of AI, well above the 303 seen a year ago.

Management teams appear to want Wall Street to know the ways AI is already impacting their business and how it could lead to future earnings, especially given the frenzied interest in the technology brought about by OpenAI’s debut of its ChatGPT chatbot at the end of last year. That launch introduced more people to the power of AI and kicked off a frenzy on Wall Street, as evidenced by BuzzFeed Inc.’s BZFD,
share price surge after The Wall Street Journal reported on the company’s plans to use OpenAI technology to enhance its quizzes.

Read: Comcast sells nearly 6 million shares of its BuzzFeed stake during strong rally

Mentions of cryptocurrencies on conference calls have soared at various points in 2021 and 2022 along with skyrocketing prices for digital assets. But unlike cryptocurrencies, ChatGPT is “something where you can see the immediate applications,” Nick Mazing, research director at AlphaSense/Sentieo, told MarketWatch.

It’s not “surprising to see everyone come in, driven in part by the public attention OpenAI products have garnered,” Mazing said.

See also: What is ChatGPT? Well, you can ask yourself.

It is not uncommon for smaller companies to want to get in on the craze, as seen several years ago when Eastman Kodak Co. KODK,
and the company then known as Long Island Iced Tea Corp. were among those announcing the move to blockchain. However, the AI ​​show is heating up the most in big tech companies.

MSFT Microsoft,
Google GOOG main alphabet,

Facebook Meta META parent,
and Apple Inc. AAPL,
all develop and use AI in various ways, some of which are not obvious or public. But Microsoft has gotten a boost in the eyes of some investors thanks to its investment in OpenAI and its plans to integrate the technology into parts of its business. The buzz from ChatGPT and Microsoft’s involvement with it have reportedly increased pressure on Google’s parent company Alphabet to showcase more of its AI capabilities, according to the New York Times.

Read: ChatGPT to charge $20 a month for premium memberships, as chatbot grows faster than TikTok

Maybe that’s why Alphabet executives have been especially talkative about AI this week. The words “AI” or “artificial intelligence” appeared 62 times on Thursday afternoon’s earnings call, up from 26 on the corresponding call in 2022. The tallies include mentions from both management and analysts.

“We are only at the beginning of our AI journey and the best is yet to come,” Chief Executive Sundar Pichai said on the latest call.

Executives at Meta, Facebook’s parent company, have also ramped up their rhetoric. AI came 37 times on Meta’s earnings call, up from 10 times a year earlier. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg stressed that while Meta uses AI for recommendations and in its advertising business, he wants the company to “leverage our research to become a leader in generative AI,” the type of AI where ChatGPT fits.

Investors may not have been able to sense the depth of Microsoft’s AI involvement had they judged only by the company’s previous earnings calls, with only single-digit mentions of the AI ​​in each of the seven calls dating back to Q1 of 2021. But this time, Microsoft’s management team was more forthcoming: The company’s January 24 call included 29 mentions of AI.

The company’s investment and commercial partnership with OpenAI “will, I think, drive innovation and competitive differentiation in each of Microsoft’s solutions by driving artificial intelligence,” Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella said on the call. .

Apple’s AAPL,
he was calmer on the subject. The only two mentions of AI in his Thursday call came from Wells Fargo analyst Aaron Rakers, who asked about the role of AI in Apple’s services business and whether Apple was using AI more to monetize its subscriber base better.

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“It’s one of our main goals,” chief executive Tim Cook replied. AI “will impact every product and every service we have.”

A search on Sentieo indicates that the term “AI” did not appear in an Apple earnings call since May 2018 prior to this latest one.

AI did not appear at all on Inc.’s AMZN,
call, but executives at other tech companies were more verbose. To International Business Machines Corp. IBM,
AI received 34 mentions, up from 21 mentions the previous year, and at networking firm Juniper Inc. JNPR,
The AI ​​came 24 times, up from 13 for the corresponding call last year.

The first reason behind Juniper CEO Rami Rahim’s optimism, despite macroeconomic reasons, is “Juniper’s focus on leveraging AI-powered cloud-based automation tools to streamline customer operations and improve the end-user experience,” he said.

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However, it wasn’t just technical executives who were spending more time on technology. On the call for Robert Half international Inc. RHI,
a staffing firm, AI garnered nine mentions, in addition to the two heard a year earlier.

“We are very pleased with the returns we have been delivering, particularly in AI,” said Chief Executive Officer M. Keith Waddell. “We are turning our attention to using artificial intelligence to identify the most interesting leads for our field professionals on the sales side.”

Caterpillar Inc. CAT,
even a mention dedicated to AI for the first time since April 2021.

“We’re investing heavily in artificial intelligence,” Chief Executive Officer Jim Umpleby said on Caterpillar’s Jan. 31 call. The company uses AI to predict where parts will be needed and to provide dealers with repair guidance.

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