The launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT created a major buzz around artificial intelligence (AI) stocks.
ChatGPT is an AI chatbot software application that uses machine learning techniques to emulate human-written conversations. A hitherto niche subsector in the AI industry, this technology is called generative AI, and it’s been making an impact on myriad industries, including marketing, security, healthcare, gaming, communication, customer service and software development.
While generative AI technology is in its early stages, Reid Menge, co-portfolio manager for the BlackRock Technology Opportunities Fund, sees immense potential. “ChatGPT is nearly as smart as the human brain today,” he said, “and with the computational horsepower being used to train these AI models, imagine the capabilities of these generative AI services by 2025.”
According to Grand View Research, the generative AI market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 34.6 percent between 2022 and 2030 to reach an impressive US$109.37 billion.
All market cap and share price data were current as of October 31, 2023.
1. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)
Market cap: US$2.51 trillion; current share price: US$338.11
After having initially invested at least US$3 billion in OpenAI a few years ago, the technology behemoth Microsoft reportedly committed to investing up to another US$10 billion in the chatbot creator in the years ahead.
Microsoft built its own chatbot based on OpenAI’s technology, Bing AI. An update to Windows 11 earlier this year integrated the chatbot into the operating system’s search bar, allowing users to query the Bing chatbot directly. Bing AI is available with Microsoft’s own Edge browser, Chrome and Safari.
Microsoft’s Office 365 is also getting the AI treatment in its latest iteration, Microsoft 365 Copilot. A select group of the company’s largest enterprise clients were invited to test it out as part of Microsoft’s Early Access Program in May, and as of November 1 the product is now available to businesses willing to pay US$30 per user for a minimum of 300 users.
2. Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL)
Market cap: US$1.56 trillion; current share price: US$125.30
Alphabet’s AI chatbot Bard launched on March 21. It was built via Alphabet subsidiary Google’s Language Model for Dialogue Applications. Much like Bing, the company has incorporated Bard into its Google Search tool. The chatbot entered testing in early February and became available to the general public in September.
Alphabet’s foray into the AI chatbot space hit a road bump at launch when Bard made headlines by fumbling a question about discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope. While Alphabet’s market cap dropped by US$100 billion in one day, the company made a quick recovery — and, as Forbes staff writer Jonathan Ponciano pointed out, there is still plenty of bullish sentiment that Google is well positioned to “capture a significant part of the market.”
On October 4, Google announced that it was working to combine Bard with another AI tool, Google Assistant. The product is still in its experimental phase, but the company expects it to be ready to test with select consumers by early 2024.
3. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN)
Market cap: US$1.37 trillion; current share price: US$133.09
Amazon subsidiary and cloud-computing platform Amazon Web Services (AWS) evolved out of Amazon’s transition from an online retailer to one of the world’s largest technology companies. AWS’s wide range of services includes computing, storage, databases, networking, analytics, machine learning and AI.
AWS has many AI business tools on offer across four verticals: AI services, AI platforms, AI frameworks and AI infrastructure. Generative AI is nothing new to Amazon, as the technology forms the basis of conversational experiences with Amazon’s all-too-familiar Alexa. In April, AWS introduced Bedrock, a service that enhances software with generative AI capabilities such as turning text into images or creating text for blog posts, emails and documents. After a five-month testing period, Amazon Bedrock became generally available on September 28.
4. NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA)
Market cap: US$1.01 trillion; current share price: US$407.80
NVIDIA is a pioneer and global leader in graphics processing unit (GPU) technology. The company designs these specialized chips used to train AI and machine learning models for laptops, workstations, mobile devices, notebooks, PCs and more. Its business model primarily focuses on gaming, automotive electronics, mobile devices and AI. The company also offers supercomputing processing capabilities to scientific researchers around the world.
Generative AI’s explosive growth is driving the market for chips designed by companies like NVIDIA and Marvell (NASDAQ:MRVL), another chip-making giant, and Micron (NASDAQ:MU), a company that makes memory chips, which are another important component to training generative AI systems.
NVIDIA supported Meta Platforms in putting together its own AI supercomputer called the Research SuperCluster, which reportedly uses a total of 16,000 of NVIDIA’s GPUs. NVIDIA is also working with Dell Technologies (NYSE:DELL) on AI applications for enterprises, ranging from language-based services to speech recognition and cybersecurity.
In May, the tech giant launched its latest AI supercomputer, the high-powered DGX GH200, as well as NVIDIA ACE, a generative AI platform for video game development.
5. Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:META)
Market cap: US$774.22 billion; current share price: US$301.27
The giant behind Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp is one of the most influential companies in tech, sharing ranks with the likes of Microsoft and Alphabet.
The company’s platform, Meta Advantage, has a suite of generative AI products that use machine learning to streamline ad campaign generation and help businesses reach the right consumers. In May, the company introduced AI Sandbox, a virtual testing center for developing Meta AI products, some of which were later introduced at the Meta Connect Conference that ran from September 27 to 28. At the event, the company also introduced a new updated version of its open-source language model, Llama 2, which was designed using fewer resources than ChatGPT.
Many of its generative AI products are still in their early stages, but the company has expressed its commitment to continued research within the generative AI sphere with an open-source approach to its software developments.
6. Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA)
Market cap: US$638.46 billion; current share price: US$200.84
The automotive company that brought self-driving cars out of sci-fi and into reality is now on a mission to develop advanced, generative autonomous vehicles using the massive amounts of data collected from its cars. In July, the company said it was spending ‘north of a billion dollars’ from mid-2023 until the end of 2024 on Dojo, a supercomputer that collects the data and uses it to train generative AI models that Tesla vehicles use to operate.
That same month, Tesla announced the formation of xAI, a new entity separate from X and Tesla formed with the intent of using generative AI to ‘understand the meaning of the universe.’ According to the company’s website on November 1, the 11 person team led by Elon Musk experienced has significant experience in the AI sector and is actively recruiting.
7. Oracle (NYSE:ORCL)
Market cap: US$283.25 billion; current share price: US$103.40
Oracle is a tech company that’s been around since the 1970s. In the early 2000s, it began buying up other software companies, and today it is one of the leading providers of cloud-based database management software. Its Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) Generative AI service was released with limited availability in Chicago on September 19.
The software uses Cohere’s platform to allow businesses to incorporate large language models (LLMs) into their software. In October, Oracle and Nvidia announced a partnership that would bring NVIDIA’s full computing stack to Oracle OCI, accelerating AI innovation by bringing powerful generative capabilities to businesses across a broad range of industries.
8. Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE)
Market cap: US$242.25 billion; current share price: US$532.06
Adobe has a suite of design software that makes up its Creative Cloud platform and began rolling out AI-powered software with machine-learning capabilities in 2022. In March 2023, the company launched its newest generative AI iteration, Adobe Sensei GenAI, which features a list of services designed to improve marketing and content creation workflows.
What’s more, Adobe’s creative programs Photoshop, Illustrator, Adobe Express and Adobe Stock can now benefit from generative AI capabilities with Adobe Firefly, an extension that was also launched in March. Adobe Firefly uses text prompts to instantly edit and manipulate images, create original images from text descriptions and apply designs and more.
9. Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO)
Market cap: US$211.15 billion; current share price: US$52.13
Multinational digital communications firm Cisco Systems is a leader in IT and communications networks. The company has a large portfolio of multi-cloud products and applications, alongside strong relationships with Azure, AWS and Google Cloud.
Cisco’s AI and machine learning offerings encompass a wide range of computing solutions for enterprises, including a focus on cybersecurity. Earlier this year, Jeetu Patel, executive vice president and general manager of security and collaboration at Cisco Systems, spoke about the potential security threats posed by generative AI technology like ChatGPT.
“Over time, what you will see is attacks will get more bespoke and more sophisticated,” Patel explained. “You will need to have better mechanisms to know that this was not a human being writing that to you, but a machine pretending to be a human being writing something to you.”
Cisco has also brought to market new generative AI tools for IT professionals, including the AI Policy Assistant.
10. SAP (NYSE:SAP)
Market cap: US$155.59 billion; current share price: US$134.05
SAP SE is a software company out of Walldorf, Germany, with a line of generative AI products that aid companies in resource planning. In September, the company released Joule, a natural language generative AI assistant designed to streamline tasks and improve workflow. Joule is available in SAP’s complete cloud portfolio and can be seamlessly integrated into the company’s entire line of business AI offerings.
11. Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)
Market cap: US$153.89 billion; current share price: US$36.50
Intel produces microprocessors that power many of the world’s PCs and mobile devices. A household name, Intel continues to advance semiconductor design and is one of the world’s largest semiconductor chip manufacturers in the world by revenue. Intel’s Meteor Lake is the company’s first consumer chip with a built-in neural processor for machine learning tasks.
Intel says its Trusted Media team is building generative AI “that improves people’s lives, limits harm and builds tools to make other technologies more natural.” On October 19, the company announced the launch of its AI PC Acceleration Program, which aims to integrate AI into every PC by equipping hardware and software vendors with Intel’s AI resources.
12. IBM (NYSE:IBM)
Market cap: US$131.77 billion; current share price: US$144.64
IBM reportedly has one of the world’s largest AI research programs. The multinational tech company offers various AI solutions for cloud computing, IT operations, healthcare, customer service, business automation, natural language processing and more.
Given the potential for factual and prejudicial errors inherent in the current generative AI models, an AI team at IBM Research is working on developing new generative AI systems that will lead to more trustworthy downstream applications.
But it’s not all about chatbots for IBM — headed by Dr. Payel Das, the team has used generative AI technology to develop antimicrobial drugs targeting deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In August, IBM began heavily marketing WatsonX, its enterprise-focused AI and data platform.
Other generative AI stocks to watch
The following companies have not yet reached the market capitalization of our top 12, but are each worth tens of billions of dollars and have made some amazing achievements in generative AI technology in their own right, making them interesting prospects for investors.
In descending order, they are:
FAQs for generative AI
What is generative AI?
Generative AI is an emerging AI technology based on deep learning models and algorithms that can generate text, images or sounds in response to prompts given by users.
What are generative AI examples?
Some of the most notable examples of generative AI are ChatGPT, DALL-E 2, Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, Bard and Bing AI.
OpenAI’s DALL-E 2 is an AI system that can create realistic images and art from a description in natural language. Similar to DALL-E 2, Midjourney generates images from prompts. Stable Diffusion is a latent text-to-image diffusion model capable of generating photo-realistic images given any text input. Microsoft’s Bing AI is a feature of the Bing search engine that leverages the same technology as ChatGPT.
What are the hottest generative AI startups?
According to technology and business magazine e-Week, in addition to ChatGPT creator OpenAI, some of the other leading generative AI startups include Hugging Face, Synthesis AI, Jasper and Cohere.
Securities Disclosure: I, Meagen Seatter, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.