Investing in artificial intelligence (AI) has taken on a similar type of momentum as broader tech stocks and pre-legalization cannabis. AI is profoundly different from any other industry, though. For one thing, AI is still very much in its infancy. On the outside, we’re still at the chatbot stage, with more powerful AI providing security duties in the background. But the future could hold much, much more.
This makes AI fundamentally different from cannabis, for instance, which is itself an already tangible and fully realized product. AI is different from other tech areas, too, since most tech industries (even still-growing ones) are also already fleshed out. Of course, new ways of doing the same old things are still gathering steam. Consider e-commerce, or the hunt to replace lithium in electric vehicle batteries.
But AI, in its fully realized form, won’t resemble any of those products or services. Its applications would be endless, and the effect it would have on society would be epoch-changing. All this, and there are still reasonable entry points for long-term growth investors. Let’s explore two options.
The AI super-company of the future?
I’ve written about the scope for NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA) investors to clean up from exposure to the gaming industry. Two years ago, I wrote, “As the world knuckles down for what could be a bumpy ride economically, cheap entertainment that can be had in the comfort of one’s own home is likely to be a big growth sector.” But NVIDIA also satisfies an AI growth thesis.
Back then, that semiconductor-based thesis was enough to make NVIDIA look like a solid play for the esports boom, itself a multi-billion-dollar industry. But NVIDIA recently laid the groundwork for the acquisition of U.K. processor designer Arm for a cool US$40 billion. This puts NVIDIA on track to becoming the “world’s premier computing company for the age of AI,” as per Arm’s press release.
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In that same release, Simon Segars, CEO of Arm, touched on just how profoundly AI will affect the future: “Arm and NVIDIA share a vision and passion that ubiquitous, energy-efficient computing will help address the world’s most pressing issues from climate change to healthcare, from agriculture to education.”
A repurposed tech stock full of growth potential
BlackBerry (TSX:BB)(NYSE:BB) has picked up its own growth-focused fan base based around its standing in the cybersecurity field. But what was once best known as an Apple adjacent pick is now also a top play for AI investors. Fast forward to the present day, and products such as the AI-powered BlackBerry Cyber Suite make BlackBerry a key stock for exposure to this high-growth industry.
BlackBerry stock is also pandemic friendly. Products such as Cyber Suite help ensure secure access to data and apps. Such cybersecurity products aim to ensure digital safety in a remotely stationed workforce utilizing a BYOD (bring your own device) culture. And thinking longer term, the remote-working business model may turn out be less ephemeral than the social-distancing measures that necessitated it.
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Fool contributor Victoria Hetherington has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. David Gardner owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple and NVIDIA. The Motley Fool recommends BlackBerry and BlackBerry.