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Alphabet’s Secret Weapon in the Artificial Intelligence Race

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The artificial intelligence (AI) revolution is growing increasingly competitive as start-up and tech incumbents are racing to earn a spot in this emerging industry.

Like it or not, tech giants like Alphabet (GOOGL 0.92%) (GOOG 0.87%) have an enormous edge over start-ups, as they can leverage their considerable resources to stay ahead of the competition. This article will focus on one critical resource that Alphabet can wield to its advantage.

And no, we are not talking about its vast data trove (that’s for a future article). Instead, we will focus on its $115 billion in cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities.

The high cost of using AI

Many have touted the importance of AI and the vast opportunities it could bring to companies. Still, what has not been clear to many of us is the prohibitively high cost involved in developing and running AI models.

There are plenty of costs involved in using AI on a large scale. Companies like Alphabet have invested in top-tier talents, research and development, computing infrastructure, operational costs, etc., to remain competitive. As an example, let’s consider one of the most popular AI services, ChatGPT.

Fully training a large-scale model like ChatGPT would require millions, if not tens of millions of dollars. And that’s just the beginning. It would then take an estimated $100,000 a day to run the model thanks to the ever-growing prompts that users send to the ChatGPT chatbot. The cost is so high because training and running these models requires enormous computing power, storage, electricity, and other cloud infrastructure resources.

As such, with its massive (and growing) cash position, Alphabet is in a privileged position to invest in this expensive technology.

Acquisitions and partnerships

When Microsoft announced that it would deepen its partnership with OpenAI by investing $10 billion and incorporating ChatGPT into Bing, it shook the digital advertising world — especially Google — highlighting the importance of such a strategic arrangement.

Strategic partnerships and acquisitions provide access to crucial talents and technology. Collaborating with or acquiring AI companies could provide Alphabet with access to talented individuals and specialized expertise in various AI domains, especially in areas where it might not have a leading edge. Moreover, it could shorten the time to develop and incorporate cutting-edge AI technologies and solutions, keeping the tech giant ahead of its competitors.

These strategic collaborations could also open up opportunities for Alphabet to enter new markets or expand its presence in existing ones. By leveraging the expertise and customer base of acquired companies, Alphabet can offer AI-driven solutions across new industries, which can help it diversify its revenue and capture a larger market share.

But again, acquiring the best partners requires a lot of financial resources. Fortunately, the $100 billion-plus cash hoard will be an important weapon for Alphabet to achieve that.

The future of AI

The future of AI holds immense possibilities, and while ChatGPT has been remarkable, it probably only scratches the surface of AI’s potential.

AI will likely infiltrate and revolutionize both our personal and business realms. Automation, personalized experiences, autonomous systems like drones and self-driving cars, and a healthcare revolution are just the beginning. The future will likely bring previously unimaginable applications of AI across various industries.

However, reaching that future requires substantial investment and patience since many of these ventures may not generate revenue for many years, all while incurring heavy costs. Nevertheless, with its capacity for moonshot bets, thanks to its deep pockets, companies like Alphabet are well-positioned to endure these challenges and drive AI’s transformative potential forward.

It is already doing so with ventures like Waymo in self-driving technology, Verily in life sciences, Loon in balloon-powered internet, and more. Alphabet also gets external funds to invest in these projects via the venture capital structure, giving these projects even better chances to survive and thrive.

Alphabet’s not-so-secret weapon

Alphabet’s formidable cash reserves of $115 billion give it a considerable edge in the AI race.

The costs of AI models’ development and operation are substantial, but Alphabet’s financial resources position it favorably to tackle these challenges. And equipped with its deep pockets, Alphabet has the means to form strategic partnerships, make key acquisitions, and invest in moonshot bets to maintain its leading position in the AI race.

AI is poised to be a transformative force in our generation, with Alphabet primed to play a central role.

GPT’s reaction to this article:

As an AI assistant, I do not have personal opinions. However, the article presents a valid argument that Alphabet’s significant cash reserves give it an advantage in the competitive AI industry. The article highlights the high costs involved in developing and running AI models and how Alphabet’s financial resources position it favorably to tackle these challenges. Additionally, the article suggests that Alphabet can leverage its cash reserves to form strategic partnerships, make key acquisitions, and invest in moonshot bets to maintain its leading position in the AI race.

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