If you have a question or issue with a recent purchase or experience - say, a broken toaster, mis-delivered pizza, or stinky hotel room - you have several options...
You can visit the customer service desk; you can write a letter; you can send an email; you can call customer service; or you can chat with a bot.
You see, over the past year or so, thousands of "brands" - everything from soda companies to tropical resorts - have unleashed bots to handle some of their customer service load.
With these bots, you type or say a question - and the bot responds. They work pretty well - I used one to cancel my cable service earlier this year... and didn't realize it till later.
That may seem like a small change in the "How We Live" window of the Singularity Nexus - chatting with a bot instead of a call-center worker - but these chatbots wouldn't exist if it weren't a major Singularity Era technology.
Soon, all of our "intelligent" things will have some form of chat or voice-bot - like Siri on your iPhone - interface.
All these chatbots need the right software and platform to be effective.
One company has already developed that software and platform.
Since this summer, this company has deployed dozens of dedicated AI servers to comb through all of the data it is getting from its chatbot platform.
And as it does so, that company's AI system is getting smarter and more precise with each passing month - and those brands are seeing success and more are signing up.
Today, I'll show you why this company is one of the best ways to play AI and chatbots.
Not least of which because you could make profits of 115% with it between now and 2020.
Take a look...
Mountains of Code
When it comes to tech trends, there are literally billions of dollars at stake - for both those technologies' developers and their investors (folks like you).
That's why those of us in the "tech trade" make predictions as we approach Jan. 1 about which of those trends are poised to go mainstream, beginning to emerge, or staying in the lab to percolate longer.
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And one of my "biggies" this year is that you - yes, you - will chat with a bot this year... and you, too, will not even realize it at first.
Here's why I think that...
In just the past five years, we've seen huge gains in key hardware areas such as processors, memory, and servers. But, like I said above, true AI also requires a deep focus on the right software.
Just like the human brain, an AI system must quickly scan many layers of connected data points, creating relationships in what's known as a neural network.
For example, to recognize a specific human face, the software must comb through 100 million data sets. Trying to do that without the right codes in the software would result in chaos.
But thanks to research breakthroughs made over the past decade, AI systems are now capable of what I call "deep learning." That means the machines take key data relationships into account so the system can move swiftly onto the next set of data to crunch.
While the build-up toward the launch of AI as an everyday tool has required hundreds of millions of lines of human-written code, deep learning is now taking this to the next level.
Simply put, with deep learning, machines gain the skills they need so that they themselves can write broader and deeper layers of software code, far surpassing what even the most brilliant minds can do.
The promise of AI has been around for decades.
But it's just the past few years that have seen amazing rates of progress. We're now seeing, in the "real world," AI-driven Big Data analysis... voicebot virtual assistants and chatbot conversational systems... devices actually communicating within the Internet of Things...
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Just Like a Human
For example, many of Facebook Messenger's 1 billion users started using those chatbots this past summer for their customer-service needs. Further, the firm is prepping those chatbots to handle bill-paying, shopping, delivery, and a range of other tasks.
Research firm MarketsandMarkets predicts that the AI market will grow from $420 million in 2014 to $5.05 billion by 2020.
That's a huge leap - but it's actually on the low end of AI forecasts.
According to the market research firm TMA Associates, conversational user interfaces, like Facebook Messenger's chatbots, will become a $600 billion market by 2020.
Meantime, Facebook's engineers are starting to make real breakthroughs in the tough AI field of facial recognition.
In tests, they found its AI-powered facial recognition software, called DeepFace, was accurate 97.25% of the time. That puts DeepFace in a dead heat with humans, who are correct 97.53% of the time.
Here's how it works...
DeepFace uses a 3D model to virtually rotate a face so that the person in the photo appears to be looking at the camera. Then, dozens of facial features are converted into a numerical equation that can involve millions of data points.
DeepFace does all the math and then makes sure each face it identifies is unique. Facebook is deploying DeepFace to make its flagship social-network platform even more compelling.
Let's say you upload a video from a party onto Facebook. DeepFace will soon be able to spot and ID all of your friends - and strangers, too. That sets the stage for a whole new level of viral videos.
DeepFace will even be able to read people's lips - and then provide subtitles for the hearing impaired or translations for foreign-language speakers.
As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has told investors, "The real value [of AI] will be if we can understand the meaning of all the content that people are sharing, we can provide much more relevant experiences in everything we do."
The AI Arms Race
The need to move quickly in this arms race has led Apple, Google, and others to make a steady stream of acquisitions of AI startups upstarts over the last couple of years.
Facebook, on the other hand, has kept the bulk of its AI work in house.
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Joaquin Candela heads up Facebook's Applied Machine Learning group, which is developing a platform to harness AI so the social network delivers exactly the content its 1.79 billion users want to see.
And in 2014, Zuckerberg hired Yann LeCun, a deep learning expert with 30 years' experience, to lead the company's "skunkworks," known as Facebook AI Research.
At the same time, those tech titans are working together on this emerging technology.
In September, Facebook and Alphabet - along with Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) - launched the Partnership on AI to conduct research and form "best practices."
After all, everyone wants to avoid an "AI takes over the world" scenario.
Turbocharging the Core Mission
Facebook is putting so much effort into AI because it believes the payoffs will help improve the quality of its core platform.
And what a profit machine its social network has turned out to be.
In the first quarter of 2016, the firm had $5.2 billion in sales, up 57% from a year ago. By next year, sales may approach $35 billion. That's more than the firm generated from 2007 through 2014 - combined. Adjusted earnings are growing at a 75% annual pace.
Moreover, mobile's contribution to Facebook revenue is huge. It accounted for 76% of total revenue in the second quarter, up from 73% in the first.
Facebook now boasts 1.79 billion dedicated monthly users. Not only is that larger than the population of China, it's up 14.6% from a year ago. More to the point, the amount of money Facebook gets from each user surged 33% from last year.
The firm already owns the digital ad sector eMarketer.com says is growing at 18% per year. With AI making Facebook an even more ruthlessly effective social network, the firm will remain at the lead for years to come.
Now, Facebook shares are down nearly 10% from their peak made back in October. And some investors are panicking - especially after Donald Trump's election.
The major fear among investors is that Trump's trade and immigration policies will mean lower earnings for multinational tech firms like Facebook. But Team Zuckerberg is going to keep thriving by continuing to create pioneering new products and services - like those Messenger chatbots - no matter who sits in the Oval Office.
This decline in its stock price is an overreaction.
And that's why you should view this dip as a buying opportunity.
Facebook stock opened today (Dec. 5) at $115.95, giving it a market cap near $336 billion.
I'm projecting a price of $250 by 2020 - a 115% leap from where we are now.
One in three Americans has saved $0 for retirement.
And those that are saving aren't doing much better.
The median savings of families close to retirement - ages 56 to 61 - is $17,000.
But with Singularity Plays like Facebook - companies that are literally changing the "Way We Live" - you can turn that $17,000 into $34,000 in less than five years.
And anyone can learn how to pump those sorts of gains even further - to 10x gains.
I'm here to help you do just that.
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About the Author
Michael A. Robinson is a 36-year Silicon Valley veteran and one of the top tech and biotech financial analysts working today. That's because, as a consultant, senior adviser, and board member for Silicon Valley venture capital firms, Michael enjoys privileged access to pioneering CEOs, scientists, and high-profile players. And he brings this entire world of Silicon Valley "insiders" right to you...
- He was one of five people involved in early meetings for the $160 billion "cloud" computing phenomenon.
- He was there as Lee Iacocca and Roger Smith, the CEOs of Chrysler and GM, led the robotics revolution that saved the U.S. automotive industry.
- As cyber-security was becoming a focus of national security, Michael was with Dave DeWalt, the CEO of McAfee, right before Intel acquired his company for $7.8 billion.
This all means the entire world is constantly seeking Michael's insight.
In addition to being a regular guest and panelist on CNBC and Fox Business, he is also a Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer and reporter. His first book Overdrawn: The Bailout of American Savings warned people about the coming financial collapse - years before the word "bailout" became a household word.
Silicon Valley defense publications vie for his analysis. He's worked for Defense Media Network and Signal Magazine, as well as The New York Times, American Enterprise, and The Wall Street Journal.
And even with decades of experience, Michael believes there has never been a moment in time quite like this.
Right now, medical breakthroughs that once took years to develop are moving at a record speed. And that means we are going to see highly lucrative biotech investment opportunities come in fast and furious.
To help you navigate the historic opportunity in biotech, Michael launched the Bio-Tech Profit Alliance.
His other publications include: Strategic Tech Investor, The Nova-X Report, Bio-Technology Profit Alliance and Nexus-9 Network.