AI promises vendors 15 minutes of fame with investors
It's time to distinguish image from reality among tech's exhibitionists, though
Opinion Divisive 20th century artist Andy Warhol famously said: "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes." The statement, eerily prophetic of reality show celebrities and social media influencers, appeals to the tech industry as companies scramble for investors' attention. Even the business that first brought Warhol into the public sphere is in on the act.
Since this media moment is all about artificial intelligence, Campbell Soup, the canned American broth which Warhol painted 32 times, is hot on the trend. Why, it is just this trend that brought the world Chunky Ghost Pepper Chicken Noodle.
"The insights engine provided insights on how consumers want to be brought into spicy. They want to be brought in violently, the algorithm seems to have decided — the new soup is 13 times hotter than the current Spicy Chicken Noodle," a senior Campbell's exec said.
Violently or otherwise, tech firms have been determined to sprinkle AI on everything. In a landscape lit up by the attention-grabbing prowess of OpenAI and its various LLM products, Salesforce has promised to "provide trusted, open, real-time generative AI that is enterprise ready." ServiceNow, on the other hand, wants to "embed generative AI across the Now Platform so customers can easily harness intelligence at scale and simplify and optimize digital workflows."
Both announcements came after SAP committed to embedding "generative AI and intelligent chatbots" in its enterprise software.
Not to be outdone, Oracle is also in on the act. Founder and CTO Larry Ellison told investors that generative AI cloud customers "have recently signed contracts to purchase more than $2 billion of capacity in Oracle's Gen2 Cloud."
Never mind that Oracle's continuing financial success, which Bloomberg attributed to "AI frenzy," actually owes a great deal to back-office SaaS applications, sales for which grew at 24 percent, well above the company's headline revenue growth.
- UN boss recommends nuclear option for AI regulation
- This AI hype is enough to drive you to drink, lose sleep
- Lawyers who cited fake legal cases generated by ChatGPT blame the software
- Europe to vote on AI laws with potential 7% revenue fines
Still, investors want what they want, and vendors know that. At a time when New York VC Insight Partners looks to cut its $20 billion fund in light of the "great reset in tech," there seems to be no shortage of money for anything with a shiny AI badge on the front.
Andy Warhol, who once was obsessed with painting money, also said that "art is anything you can get away with," even if he didn't say it first.
Perhaps that's another lesson the tech vendors have learned from the master image maker. Any tech product with AI attached may enjoy its 15 minutes of fame, with a commensurate share-price fillip. But soon, time will be up, and a dose of reality might be in order. ®