UBS, a leading investment bank, has significantly revised its earlier forecasts regarding the economic impact of artificial intelligence (AI).
Initially underestimated, the value of AI in the global economy is now recognized as far more substantial than previously thought.
UBS’s Recalibration: A 40% Increase
Breaking away from its prior conservative stance, UBS has acknowledged underestimating AI’s economic potential. The bank has now adjusted its projection upwards by a striking 40%. This recalibration stems from a deeper understanding of the escalating investment in AI technology.
Initially, UBS estimated the global AI investment would soar from $28 billion in 2022 to $300 billion in 2027. However, the latest insights suggest a staggering rise to $420 billion by 2027, reflecting a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 72%.
A significant portion of this growth is attributed to the increased funding for AI-supportive infrastructure. UBS anticipates expanding this sector from $25.8 billion in 2022 to $195 billion in 2027. Emerging GPU cloud services and AI edge computing trends drive this surge.
A substantial amount of this investment is expected to flow into ‘AI computing’, especially in AI chips, which are projected to see higher demand due to the growing use of generative AI and applications like AI copilots.
Rising Trends in AI Applications and Models
Parallel to infrastructure, spending on AI applications and models is also rising. UBS’s equity investment team forecasts an increase from $2.2 billion in 2022 to $225 billion in 2027. These figures align well with historical trends in computing sectors like mainframes, PCs, and smartphones.
Sundeep Gantori, a global tech equity strategist at UBS, emphasizes AI as the most rapidly growing segment in global tech, and possibly the defining tech theme of the decade.
UBS draws an interesting analogy, comparing the launch of the ChatGPT application to the ‘iPhone moment’ for the AI industry. The introduction of various applications and features, such as AI copilots and advancements by OpenAI, are seen as pivotal moments, much like the advent of the App Store was for mobile computing.
Implications for the Global Tech Sector
This exponential growth in AI investment is set to benefit semiconductor manufacturers and platform companies significantly. Companies specializing in GPUs and chips for training and inference in large language models (LLMs) are expected to be the primary beneficiaries.
For instance, Nvidia, which reported record growth in 2023, is anticipated to lead the AI computing investment domain. That segment is projected to increase more than tenfold from $15.8 billion in 2022 to $165 billion in 2027. Key players like AMD, Intel, and Arm also position themselves as significant contributors to the AI revolution.
Navigating Potential Challenges in the AI Sector
Despite the optimistic outlook, UBS acknowledges potential challenges, particularly the growing regulatory discussions around AI. However, the bank views these developments more as opportunities than threats. It believes that clear regulatory frameworks established early in a technology’s lifecycle are preferable to retroactive measures.
UBS suggests that any significant market corrections due to geopolitics or regulations could present attractive investment opportunities, as the demand for AI is expected to remain robust.
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