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AI in spotlight as Google, Microsoft and Cathie Wood support hot tech trend

The year is barely a month old, but 2023 is already turning out to be one where artificial intelligence is going to dominate the strategies of businesses and the attention of investors.

And this week showed that the biggest of the big names in tech are pushing more of their resources into the nascent area of AI in what is almost a fear-of-missing-out situation, even with the market still finding its footing.

Microsoft MSFT wasted little time in continuing with its support for the popular ChatGPT service from OpenAI. The software giant reportedly is close to adding an updated, and faster version of ChatGPT into its own Bing search engine within a few weeks.

This would come on the heels of Microsoft MSFT adding ChatGPT technology to its Azure cloud service, and confirming it has made a multi-year, multi-billion investment in OpenAI, which Oppenheimer analyst Timothy Horan called "an iPhone moment" for AI technology. AI, a software company that has AI in its name, continued with its hot streak of late as its shares rose almost 50% during the week, including a gain of 20% on Friday. The company, which is headed up by longtime software executive Thomas Siebel, said it is rolling out a new product suite that uses natural language to "rapidly locate, retrieve and present all relevant data" across a businesses information systems.

Meta Platforms META shares also got a boost following its fourth-quarter results, which led Bank of America Securities analyst Justin Post to say that the Facebook parent company could become a strong play in the "multi-year artificial intelligence [and] machine learning improvement cycle."

Alphabet GOOG Chief Executive Sundar Pichai left no doubt regarding his thoughts on the importance of AI to his company's future. During a conference call to discuss Alphabet's GOOG fourth-quarter results, Pichai said that the company is in a "great position as AI reaches an inflection point."

As evidence of Alphabet's GOOG AI strategy, Google set plans to hold an event on February 8 about "using the power of AI". And reports emerged on Friday that said Google was investing $300M in AI startup company Anthropic.

Noted investor Cathie Wood threw some weight behind the AI industry as her Ark Invest fund used its "Big Ideas 2023" report to tout the importance that AI is likely to have in the coming years. Wood's report said that the market value of disruptive innovation platforms could rise from $13 trillion today to $200 trillion by 2030.