AI technology uses computer algorithms. The software programs aim to mimic the human ability to learn, interpret patterns and make predictions.

“Machine learning” is the most widely used form of AI deployed in industries. Machine learning systems use huge troves of data to train algorithms to recognize patterns and make predictions.

Artificial intelligence stocks are rarer . Many companies tout AI technology initiatives and machine learning. But there really are few public, pure-play AI stocks.

In general, look for AI stocks that use artificial intelligence technology to improve products or gain a strategic edge. 

Microsoft (MSFT) has increased its investment in startup OpenAI.

“Microsoft has already launched products that leverage OpenAI’s technology such as GitHub Copilot and Azure OpenAI Service and news reports are pointing to expanded use in Bing among other products,” said Sterling Auty, analyst at MoffettNathanson in a report. 

“If we look across Microsoft’s segments, we believe OpenAI’s technology could benefit Microsoft products that account for as much as 76% of the aggregate company’s revenue. For this reason, we believe integrations with OpenAI have the potential to vastly reshape core components of Microsoft’s business and potentially accelerate growth rates.”

Meanwhile, shares in Buzzfeed (BZFD) popped after it announced plans to leverage ChatGPT/AI to enhance its content offerings in 2023.

All AI software needs computing power to find patterns and make inferences from large quantities of data. 

And the race is on to build AI chips for data centers, self-driving cars, robotics, smartphones, drones and other devices.

Bank of America is bullish on AI and internet companies.

“Use of AI will be critical driver of all things Internet, including content relevance, ad performance, e-commerce conversion, marketplace efficiency and even customer service,” BofA analyst Justin Post said in a recent note to clients.

Shares in Mobileye Global (MBLY), spun off by Intel (INTC), are up about 36% since its initial public offering. 

Mobileye develops and makes advanced driver-assistance systems and autonomous-driving technologies.

Nvidia (NVDA) provides software development tools to build artificial intelligence applications. Nvidia faces more competition from AI chip startups Cerebras, Sambanova and Graphcore, Mizuho Securities analyst Vijay Rakesh said in a recent note to clients. Still, NVDA stock is well-positioned, he said.

“We believe NVDA still reigns supreme in the world of AI and accelerated computing with breadth and depth of offerings from hardware to a full software training/AI stack,” Rakesh said.

He noted that under new U.S. export restrictions, Nvidia will not be able to sell its most advanced products in China.

Some companies have been aggressive making AI acquisitions. IBM (IBM) has bought at least five artificial intelligence companies since mid-2020. 

They include, Turbonomic, ReaQta, MyInvenio and WDG Automation.

Google-parent Alphabet (GOOGL) recently acquired Alter for $100 million, an AI avatar startup that enables brands and creators to express virtual identities. 

The acquisition is aimed at helping Google ramp up its content offerings and compete with other platforms like TikTok.

Also, Google is in talks to invest at least $200 million into AI startup Cohere. 

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Cohere creates natural language processing software that developers can then use to build AI applications for businesses, including tools for chatbots and other features that can understand human speech and text. 

Google’s cloud division supplies the computing power needed for Cohere to train its software models.

For many companies, gaining an edge with AI requires ongoing investments in compute, networking and data center infrastructure.

AI usage is exploding in facial and voice recognition technology, medical diagnostics, algorithmic trading, and automated customer service bots.

The top artificial intelligence stocks to buy span chip makers, enterprise software companies and technology giants that utilize AI tools in many applications. 

Think of cloud computing giants (AMZN), Microsoft and Google.

The cloud computing giants sell AI analytical services to business customers.

Amazon itself uses AI to customize online retail offerings and recommend products to website visitors. 

The e-commerce behemoth also uses robotics and AI at its fulfillments centers. 

Further, Amazon leverages AI in retail stores, noted a recent Monness, Crespi, Hardt and Co. report to clients. 

More than 30 Amazon Fresh U.S. stores, over 25 Amazon Go U.S. stores and two Whole Foods Market stores use Just Walk Out payment technology.

Google, of course, uses AI to better parse complex search prompts, helping it to deliver relevant advertising and web results. Plus, Google uses AI tools in digital advertising.

Meanwhile, Salesforce (CRM) rolled out new AI-based tools at its Dreamforce customer conference in September.

Nvidia rival Intel, meanwhile, aims to catch up in AI development tools.

Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen once observed how “software is eating the world” by remaking industries through automation. In the same way, artificial intelligence is expected to modernize software.

Amid a shortage in software engineers, low-code programming tools are making it easier for business units to develop AI applications. 

DataRobot is part of a new wave of AI startups bringing low-code tools to market.

Meanwhile, Snowflake and startups such as Databricks aim to shake up the database market with lightning-fast analysis of “unstructured data” gathered from sensors. One example would be streaming video.

Databricks announced new contributions to multiple opensource projects at its recent AI Summit

Still, corporate adoption of AI technologies is nascent. The majority of organizations are still experimenting with AI technology, said an Accenture (ACN) study. 

Only 12% are using AI tools at a maturity level that achieves a strong competitive advantage, according to Accenture.

But the AI software market is expected to jump 21.3% to $62.5 billion in 2022, forecasts market research firm Gartner. 

The research group adds the worldwide AI semiconductor market will grow to more than $70 billion by 2025, up from $23 billion in 2020.

Not every effort succeeds. IBM (IBM) in January sold off Watson Health to private equity firm Francisco Partners. 

The deal reportedly came in above $1 billion. But IBM had invested much more in Watson. Despite the Watson setback, IBM continues to acquire AI startups.

AI tools are playing a big role in Facebook-parent Meta Platforms (META) legacy business and new initiatives. 

As it moves into the “metaverse,” Meta said it has built a new artificial intelligence supercomputer. Called the AI Research Supercluster, the Meta computer uses chips from Nvidia.

Meanwhile, Apple (AAPL) continues to build up artificial intelligence assets. It hired former Google scientist Samy Bengio, who left the internet search giant amid turmoil in its artificial intelligence research department.

Microsoft in April 2021 acquired speech recognition software maker Nuance Communications (NUAN), whose artificial intelligence tools are widely used in the health care market. 

In addition, Microsoft aims to deliver Nuance AI tools to health care customers via its Azure cloud computing platform.

Microsoft, Google and Nvidia have dropped off the IBD Leaderboard, which is IBD’s curated list of leading stocks that stand out on technical and fundamental metrics.

“AI workloads are classified as training or inference,” Oppenheimer analyst Rick Schafer said in a recent note. 

“Training is the creation of an AI model through repetitive data processing/learning. Training is compute-intensive, requiring the most advanced AI hardware/software. Generally located in hyperscale data centers, we estimate training total addressable market at $21 billion by 2025.”

AI companies to watch include information technology services firms such as IBM, Accenture, and Epam Systems (EPAM).

Research firm IDC estimates that IBM, Accenture and Infosys hold 28% of the $17 billion artificial intelligence IT services market, said a Susquehanna Financial Group report.

In addition, software companies are among artificial intelligence stocks to watch. Many software-as-a-service companies use AI tools.

Bank of America recently upgraded Palantir (PLTR) to buy citing its AI prowess.

Digital media and marketing software maker Adobe (ADBE) at a recent conference strutted out cloud-based tools that will allow companies to better personalize content for customers on a large scale.