Those interested in the advancement of artificial intelligence into all aspects of our lives – for better or worse – would devour Jo Callaghan’s novel on the subject: In The Blink Of An Eye.
It tells the story of how Detective Chief Superintendent Kat Frank combines with artificially intelligent detection entity lock to solve the mysterious disappearance of several young men in Warwickshire.
However, for those who want to make money through artificial intelligence, there is a possible answer: the Pictet Robotics investment fund.
Although robotics has played a key role in the industry since the 1960s, today’s fifth-generation robots are powered by AI and are poised to revolutionize the workplace. The Pictet fund is perfectly positioned to select the winners of this 21st century industrial revolution.
Pictet Asset Management, headquartered in Switzerland, manages £54 billion of thematic funds: funds investing specifically in premium brands, health and nutrition.
Bionic Performance: Over the past five years, the Robotics Fund is up 143% and has returned 43% in one year
The Robotics Fund, launched eight years ago, has been a great success, attracting assets of £7 billion to the global market.
The performance numbers are impressive. Over the past five years, the fund has recorded returns of 143 percent. Over the past 12 months, it generated profits of 42 percent.
“It’s an exciting but simple investment story,” says Daegal Tsang, who runs the fund with Peter Lingen, who has been at the helm since its inception. “Robots are increasingly performing D tasks previously done by humans – boring, dirty, dangerous or difficult tasks.” Companies involved in this robotics revolution stand to benefit enormously.
Three subthemes underpin the fund: automation, enabling technologies, and consumer and service applications. Lingen and Tsang then identify companies that are making waves – or about to make waves – in these key areas.
So, for example, companies involved in factory automation through the production of industrial robotics (automation); businesses are essential to building AI-enabled robots (enabling technologies); and companies involved in the introduction of AI in the areas of health and family home (consumer applications and services).
Tsang says the investment universe includes about 250 stocks, of which 120 are in a “core” list and 32 in the fund. They do not invest in companies that benefit from the use of robotics in their business operations.
Nearly two-thirds of the portfolio is made up of U.S. companies, such as Alphabet (which has a thriving AI division called Google DeepMind) and software giant Salesforce. But it is in Asia that robotics is most widespread.
Tsang says the global average for the number of robots per 10,000 workers is 151, but in South Korea it’s 1,000. Top holdings by Asian companies include Japanese automation specialist Fanuc and robotics company Yaskawa. “Robotics is an investment theme that’s not going away,” Tsang says. “This is driven by improving productivity across swaths of the industry.”
From an investment perspective, the growth-oriented companies in which the fund invests have stock prices that are sensitive to short-term changes in the economic environment. But Tsang insists these are “great opportunities” for long-term investors.
This is an opinion shared by Christopher Rossbach, managing partner of the investment firm J Stern & Co. He believes that AI will have a considerable impact on the global economy in the years to come. “Companies that integrate AI will succeed and those that ignore it will do so at their own risk,” he warns. The annual fee for the Pictet Robotics fund is 1.09 percent.