While Get Rich Quick publishers use AI for email advertising, investors combat their spam with AI-based anti-spam programs. Meanwhile, what’s the best way to profit from AI with less risk?
AI continues to make gains, mostly in communications. (In contrast, early adopters are still waiting for a licensed, insurable, road-worthy self-driving car.) You also hear a lot about AI-related start-ups. Most seem aimed at improving existing devices and/or cutting business costs. Many have highly specific goals.
Meanwhile, AI will keep attracting investment interest.
Here’s how AI has changed one industry
As you’ve probably noticed, a boom is underway in the investment-newsletter publishing business, at least in its “GRQ” segment. (GRQ is an acronym for Get Rich Quick.)
GRQ publishers sell newsletters and related products to subscribers. Their expertise is in newsletter marketing, not investing. Many publish numerous newsletters that may offer conflicting advice. When one publication puts out a stream of bad recommendations that drive off too many customers, the publishers change the publication’s name and/or investment specialty. That way, they always have one or more fresh titles that still have customer appeal and can operate at a profit.
GRQ publishing has been around for many decades, if not centuries. But it really went into high gear in the early 2000s. That’s when email began to replace postal mail as the main carrier for newsletter advertising, and costs began to plummet.
In the days of postal mail advertising, it cost a publisher perhaps $1 per “name” to offer a newsletter subscription to prospective customers. Publishers had to create, print and mail elaborate mailing pieces. They had to rent prospect names from direct competitors, or from other publishers in the same or related fields.
Compared to the costs of paper/postal mailings a decade or two ago, today’s costs of email advertising are close to negligible. Now publishers spend heavily in other areas: direct marketing consultants, specialized writers of advertising copy for email marketing, and so on.
Some newsletter publishers seem to be using AI to help them create email ads in ever larger numbers, to send to investors who never asked for them: spam, in other words.
In response, investors are using AI-based anti-spam programs to keep from drowning in junk mail. I rely on a Microsoft anti-spam filter that uses AI to sort through my incoming email. It diverts spammy-looking emails into a junk mail folder; if I leave them there for 30 days, it deletes them.
Every time I’ve checked my spam folder in the past few months, it held around 7,000 emails. That’s how many emails the Microsoft system identified as spam and diverted from my inbox in the previous 30 days. I glance through them when I think of it but never come across anything worth opening.
The funny thing is that the same spammy subject lines get used repeatedly in spam from seemingly unrelated publishers. (After some exposure to spam, you can recognize it on sight, just as you can recognize a foreign accent, even if you don’t speak the language.) Maybe they are operating out of the same shop, or using the same AI software or consultants.
It’s interesting (at least to me) that publishers use AI to create spam to raise the payoff from their marketing, while investors use AI to keep spam from wasting too much of their time.
Here’s the best way to profit from AI — but with less risk
As AI improves, it will undoubtedly add value in all sorts of ways and activities. For one, AI has military applications. Plans are underway to use AI to help a single highly skilled fighter pilot lead (you might say “fly” or “manage” or “orchestrate”) a squad of three to six top-of-the-line planes, rather than just one.
My guess is that AI investing will pay off, but will create much more value as an aid to human effort than a replacement for it.
Meanwhile, a good way for investors to tap into the fast-growing field of artificial intelligence (AI) is with these three well-established technology firms: IBM, Cisco, and Texas Instruments. IBM and Cisco are using AI to improve the quality of their software, while Texas Instruments’ chips help run AI applications such as facial recognition and self-driving vehicles. What’s more, all three continue to reward investors with dividend hikes and share buybacks. Read more about these three companies.
Do you, or will you, invest in AI?
Pat McKeough has been one of Canada’s most respected investment advisors for over three decades. He is the founder and senior editor of TSI Network and the founder of Successful Investor Wealth Management. He is also the author of several acclaimed investment books. This article was published on July 25, 2023 and is republished on the Hub with permission.