What I learned living inside the AI bubble

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For the past two weeks I’ve been living out of a small suitcase inside of the West Coast artificial intelligence bubble.

It’s given me a lot to think about and I have some thoughts.

If you don’t know what an “LLM” is, it would be in your best interest to read up on it. And even if you do know what it is, you really don’t know what it is.

LLM is short for “large language models,” and they’re about to bring fundamental change to the companies you own in your portfolio. And this change is likely to arrive faster than you or I — or the broader market — thinks.

“Every business will get recreated with artificial intelligence,” Salesforce co-founder, chairman, and CEO Marc Benioff told me. “Software engineering, which is a great example, is probably one of the areas that we’re most surprised by — it’s able to achieve new levels of efficiency with these AI tools. And there’s going to be so many more industries as well.”

My chat with Benioff came moments after his keynote speech at the annual Dreamforce conference, where he highlighted another new AI wave on the horizon: artificial general intelligence, which is a controversial science-fiction level of AI far past the current generative AI wave.

I had no clue what this was before Dreamforce, but the sci-fi readers among you will. Basically, think RoboCop (for you ’80s kids out there) and the Tesla bot that Elon Musk keeps on hyping. Robots that can actually think.

Before the robots arrive, it was all smiles with Salesforce plush mascots at this year's AI filled Dreamforce conference.

Before the robots arrive, it was all smiles with Salesforce plush mascots at this year’s AI-filled Dreamforce conference. (Yahoo Finance)

Essentially, physical machines need an enormous amount of speed and processing power, and LLMs are the tool for the job.

And as these beastly machines expand their power due to masters searching for fatter profits (RoboCop didn’t need a pension), they will have profound impacts on businesses, industries, and markets.

Take for example my profession of choice, journalism.

News Corp. CEO Robert Thomson told me at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia tech conference that AI will be “epochal” for news. He went on to warn that the industry could face a “tsunami potentially of job losses” due to the tech.

Other execs at Dreamforce and the Goldman gathering told me they are concerned about AI bias and LLMs spitting out fake news. Both could invoke dreadful outcomes for society and business, these folks acknowledged.

It’s scary.

Now, some of you will write me saying I am insane and have been breathing in too much AI hype for two weeks. Fair point, as I do miss the down-to-earth vibes in my home base of Long Island. But expect a big 2024 for tech companies playing meaningfully in the AI space.

Think more AI-fueled guidance raises like we saw from Nvidia earlier this year as AI buying cycles get pulled forward. Wall Street analysts are clueless on how to model for this profit influx. I used to be in their seat and it’s not their fault. We just haven’t seen a looming demand curve such as the one we are on the cusp of witnessing with AI tools.

That is no hype, it’s very inevitable.

Brian Sozzi is Yahoo Finance’s Executive Editor. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn. Tips on deals, mergers, activist situations, or anything else? Email [email protected].

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