Companies must use artificial intelligence to compete or go bankrupt as the pace of advancement soars, Ark Invest futurist says

  • Companies have to onboard AI quickly if they want to stay competitive, Ark Invest’s Brett Winton says.
  • The AI transition is driven by a stressed corporate landscape, providing solutions without much cost.
  • Microsoft will outcompete Google in the long run, despite higher costs for AI search engines.

Artificial intelligence may be the catalyst for a rapid make-or-break era in the corporate world. 

That’s according to Ark Invest’s Chief Futurist Brett Winton, who told CNBC on Wednesday that companies that do not start integrating the new technology soon may fall behind and even risk bankruptcy when competing with those that do. 

“If you’re not running that race, you’re not going to be in the race by the end of this business cycle,” he said.

Partly driven by headline-making AI developments from the likes of Microsoft and Google, Winton thinks the technology’s takeover has also been boosted by current macroeconomic issues faced by corporations. 

“The fact that corporate budgets are probably under stress right now allows them to evaluate: ‘Hey, how can we do more with the same number of employees? How can we better service our customers or better execute on sales without adding to our cost-line?'” he said. “AI provides that solution.” 

Though he thinks the systems’ capabilities are already sufficient enough to use — even pointing out that firms such as Coca Cola have begun incorporating AI — Winton adds that the advancement is set to gain pace as costs come down.  

“It’s the equivalent of taking the entire smartphone lifecycle — original smartphone to today’s iPhone — and compressing it into three years in terms of capability advance,” he said. 

The pivot to AI will also mean changes for the search engine hierarchy, Winton said, pointing to Google and Microsoft’s development race. 

Although the new, AI-assisted Bing may mean higher costs for Microsoft when compared with a traditional internet search, he says that the company’s introduction of the technology will unseat Google as the dominant search engine in the long-term.

Currently, Microsoft shares have fallen by nearly 7% since a February high of $272 per share that followed the AI-centered Bing update. The company continues to advance the technology, recently announcing that the search engine’s new capabilities will be available on mobile phones.