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Are these the best ASX AI stocks to watch?

A description of AI stocks, alongside five of the best artificial intelligence companies to watch in 2024. These are some of the most well-known AI-dedicated shares on the index.

asx ai Source: Bloomberg

The Artificial Intelligence boom of 2023 appears set to continue into 2024 and beyond. The NASDAQ’s ‘magnificent seven’ continues to grow in market capitalisation — with titan Nvidia recently breaching a US$2 billion valuation.

With AI stocks going mainstream, it’s worth considering just how fast progress is being made. ChatGPT was only launched in late 2022, with GPT-4 following in March 2023. Now AI is becoming embedded in entertainment, social media, art, retail, security, sport analytics, manufacturing, self-driving cars, healthcare, and warehousing alongside dozens of other sectors.

As seen by the Writers Guild of America strike, the disruption could be significant. The recent launches of Gemini 1.5 and OpenAI’s Sora engines are arguably another giant leap forwards in AI capabilities — and it is becoming increasingly harder to distinguish between AI-generated video and real film.

The financial possibilities are arguably essentially endless, as shown by Nvidia’s recent quarterly results: revenue rose by 265% year-over-year to $22.1 billion, with CEO Jensen Huang arguing that ‘accelerated computing and generative AI have hit the tipping point. Demand is surging worldwide across companies, industries and nations.’

Of course, older investors who lived through the dotcom bust may be feeling a distinct sense of déjà vu. History often rhymes, and the current hysteria associated with AI may prove to be overdone in the future.

As always, past performance is not an indicator of future returns.

Best ASX AI stocks to watch

The following are five well-known AI-dedicated shares on the ASX. While market titans like Block or WiseTech Global do make use of AI in their operations, they are not specifically AI-focused and therefore are not included in this list — indeed, most larger companies are starting to incorporate artificial intelligence to some degree, and a cut-off between what is and what it not an AI company will always be subjective.

Importantly, these ASX AI companies are much smaller and perhaps higher risk than the US operators — but this does mean they may have stronger growth potential. These stocks are ordered by market capitalisation.

BrainChip

Like many smaller AI companies, BrainChip shares rocketed to all-time-highs during the pandemic era of ultraloose monetary policy and ‘meme’ hysteria, reaching $1.76 in early 2022 — before falling to just $0.16 a month ago.

However, the stock has recovered sharply, perhaps buoyed by both the general AI bubble, and news that Elon Musk’s Nueralink had successfully implanted a chip into its first human patient.

BrainChip owns the Akida platform, which is built on a novel digital neuromorphic chip with a spiking neural network. It essentially is an attempt to copy the way individual neurons pass messages to each other through the brain. The key moat is that the AI is hosted solely inside the semiconductor, which means it is not reliant on staying connected to the internet — this makes it far more secure than competitors, and also reduces the associated atency.

BigTinCan Holdings

BigTinCan Holdings is a mobile content sales enablement platform, designed to make accessing and presenting content easier for salespeople. It allows marketers to recommend content for salespeople to share with prospects on their mobile, based on the stage of the deal.

The company boasts many blue-chip partners, including the likes of Apple, Adobe, Salesforce and Microsoft. It just joined forces with the latter — now the world’s largest company — to work with its 365 Copilot to boost seller performance and sales productivity with AI-powered collaboration for enterprise teams.

Bigtincan was also subject to a possible private equity bid in 2023, though the firm in question walked away in November.

Appen

Appen works to provide accurate and reliable human annotated datasets that are used to help develop AI and machine learning for some of the world's biggest brands. It is well-known as a partner to help companies transition into AI usage, with a package of large language models and AI training products for employees.

However, the company has struggled in recent years. It hit a market capitalisation of $4.3 billion in August 2020, but has since fallen to just $91 million. This has been a result not only of rising rates, the client loss, executive departures and falling revenue.

However, it does still have several US tech titans on the client list.

AI-Media Technologies

Ai-Media Technologies is a global organisation which provides a suite of technology-driven live and recorded captioning, transcription, and translation products and services. It helps many of the world's leading brands caption their TV broadcasts, live streams, events, virtual meetings and more.

In full-year results, AI Media Technologies saw revenue rise slightly $61.8 million, though technology revenue grew by 33%, driven by 45% growth in flagship LEXI’s revenue. Accordingly, gross profit rose by 12% to $36.9 million.

The company recently launched LEXI 3.0, an improved AI-based product which leverages the latest advances in artificial intelligence to provide greater accuracy, and drive wider adoption among its client base.

Unith

Unith is an ASX penny stock, which focuses on media technology surrounding conversational commerce, alongside its Talking Head platform designed for mobile and smart device applications. The platform combines artificial intelligence with machine learning based technology to generate digital avatars, that appear as unique individuals.

Like many penny shares, the stock is volatile. It recently announced plans to raise $4.5 million through a share placing, at a 37.9% discount to the previous day’s closing price. However, recent financial results have seen double-digit revenue growth, making the company an interesting investment for higher risk investors.

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