Talk is cheap: Like everyone else, CEOs can't stop talking about AI

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Talk is cheap

Not ones to miss out on a hot trend, the management teams at America’s largest companies can’t stop talking about AI (e.g. Google).

Indeed, there were more than a thousand references to “AI” and related synonyms in the latest round of quarterly conference calls from S&P 500 companies (per Bloomberg data), as an ever-growing swathe of the world’s biggest businesses look to lay out how the tech will figure into future plans.

Talk is expensive

It’s fair to categorize most of the AI chatter as positive — with execs keen to explain why AI breakthroughs could be a great boon for their company. But attempts to address the issue of AI head-on haven’t always worked out, and some companies now appear to be facing an existential threat that, 6 months ago, wasn't even on their radar.

Chegg, for instance, saw a billion dollars of market cap evaporate overnight, as its share price was cut in half after the company raised concerns over how it would be impacted by AI. The edtech company, which tripled in value during the pandemic as students “chegged” their way through homework and online tests (paying to access Chegg’s wide database of millions of textbooks to get the answers), conceded last week that ChatGPT is “having an impact on our new customer growth rate”. Good luck to the teachers having to mark AI-written essays in the coming years.

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