Editor’s note: With decades of experience in Silicon Valley’s inner circle, longtime Casey Research friend Jeff Brown has an inside track on the most disruptive tech trends – before they hit the front pages.
And in today’s essay, Jeff reveals how one blue-chip company is using a bleeding-edge tech to transform the way we shop…
By Jeff Brown, editor, Exponential Tech Investor
We’re on the cusp of the most powerful investing trend of our lifetime…
A bleeding-edge technology has hit an inflection point. It’ll change our society in ways that few can predict. Entirely new industries will be born – and fortunes will be made.
The tech I’m referring to is artificial intelligence (AI).
And if you’re looking for a great long-term AI investment, then keep reading. Because one of the world’s best AI companies has been hiding in plain sight…
Now, you might think Amazon (AMZN) is just a great e-commerce company. But in fact, it’s also one of the best AI companies in the world.
I know this because I recently attended the inaugural Amazon re:MARS 2019 conference in Las Vegas.
The invite-only conference focused on Machine learning, Automation, Robotics, and Space. And it’s where I learned how pervasive AI has become in Amazon’s business…
You see, Amazon is fanatical about fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG). It’s built out one of the largest and most efficient distribution networks in the world with the goal of eventually delivering products within hours. It provides convenience that consumers can’t get anywhere else.
And Amazon’s strategic plans to dominate the FMCG market aren’t limited to just e-commerce. It’s been building the next generation of the convenience store: Amazon Go.
The stores are powered entirely by AI and computer vision. Cameras are strategically placed throughout them. And they use computer vision to track customers’ activities.
When you walk inside, you scan a barcode on your phone’s Amazon Go app linked to your Amazon account. That’s how the cameras know who you are.
Inside an Amazon Go store (Source: CNET)
From there, you’re free to browse and take any items you wish. The cameras track which items you take. Then, you can simply leave with your items. Amazon will charge your credit card on file and email you a receipt.
No lines. No checkout counters. No self-scanning. You just walk in, grab what you want, and walk out…
How’s that for convenient?
There are 13 Go stores operating right now. But I learned at the conference that Amazon plans to open 3,000 Go stores in the U.S. alone.
It firmly believes this is the future of retail. And it’s all powered by AI.
But there’s more…
Did you know Amazon’s fulfillment warehouses are run almost entirely by AI-powered robots?
When orders come in, AI-powered robots locate the items… take them to the packaging center… box them up… slap on the shipping labels… and sort the packages to the right loading bins. Then, humans load the packages onto the trucks.
Amazon’s AI-powered robots
In Amazon’s earlier days, humans did all that work. And they made a lot of mistakes. Packages loaded onto wrong trucks resulted in late deliveries.
But since fully automating, the robots have reduced mis-sorting by over 50%. We can see the results in how fast and consistently Amazon is able to deliver packages to us today.
And this remarkable achievement is thanks to AI.
Now, there’s one last piece of evidence I uncovered at the conference…
Five Billion Items a Year
Amazon has roughly 400 million products on offer. And it now ships more than 5 billion items every year.
Think about it… It has to get all those products to customers – often in two days or less after purchase. That’s a logistical nightmare.
So to make it work, Amazon forecasts sales every day. It estimates how much of each product consumers are likely to order and plans accordingly.
But with so many products and so much volume, there isn’t a single person or group of people who can make all those forecasts.
That’s where deep learning comes in. It uses a form of AI called neural networks to produce forecasts.
Neural networks can analyze thousands of variables to determine the best possible outcome. That’s clearly something no human can possibly do.
So in 2016, Amazon started using this deep learning to analyze its supply chain… make business forecasts… and optimize everything for the best output.
And at the conference, I learned Amazon’s forecasting got 15 times better in the first year after deploying this tech. That kind of breakthrough is simply incredible…
The Year of AI
I’ll share one last insight with you on how fast AI is progressing…
I listened to a talk from Stanford University adjunct professor Andrew Ng. He’s followed the rise of AI and deep learning since 2008 and he’s one of the most influential minds in the space.
Andrew attends an AI conference annually. And he said there were usually 100-150 papers to read from the conference each year…
Today, he says there are 100 AI/deep learning reports published every day. So the industry is producing as much research in a day as it used to produce in a year for much of the past decade.
And that’s made it impossible for Andrew to stay on top of all the research. There’s just too much coming out for one person to keep up.
A Powerful Trend
For investors, AI will provide us with some of the best investment opportunities of our lifetimes. This trend is that powerful.
And as I showed you, Amazon is hands-down one of the best AI companies in the world.
You might think Amazon’s growth days are behind it with a nearly $1 trillion valuation.
But that’s far from the case. Thanks to AI, I still see plenty of growth ahead for the company and its stock price.
Editor, Exponential Tech Investor
P.S. Amazon is still a great buy today. But if you’d invested just $1,000 during its initial public offering, you’d be sitting on $1.2 million today.
That’s the power of investing in early-stage tech companies. Yet everyday investors are typically locked out of investing in them. They’re mostly reserved for venture capitalists (VCs) and connected insiders.
Now, I recently uncovered a way for Main Street investors to turn the tables. You can make VC-like returns – without being a VC or buying pre-IPO shares.
It took me five years to fine-tune this method. And I’m finally ready to reveal my findings on July 24 at 8 p.m. ET. Save your spot for my free online investing summit right here.