AI was not always the hottest thing in tech. Now corporate America is leaning into its use of the term.
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AI, or at least talk of it, is everywhere. That includes some unexpected corners of corporate America. In recent months, companies have become eager to frame their projects—even those that don’t necessarily involve generative AI—as somehow involving the buzzy technology. More and more companies are bringing up AI in quarterly reports. The Financial Times reported that almost 40 percent of S&P 500 companies talked about AI or related terms in earnings calls last quarter—though just 16 percent mentioned it in regulatory filings, suggesting that the technology hasn’t yet had material effects on many of the businesses. Some of the companies touting AI are not the usual suspects: Cruise-ship operators and and several fast-food chains are among those claiming to be harnessing the power of AI.
It is not shocking that companies would be excited to join in on the most promising trend in tech during a bruising period for the industry. Hundreds of thousands of tech workers have been laid off already this year. Everyone is always mad about the state of social-media sites. High interest rates are puncturing the good times. But the public seems pretty interested in AI, and venture-capital investors are pouring money into AI projects.