AI - Do You Have It in Your Portfolio?

In late January, the world of artificial intelligence went mainstream when popular online media company BuzzFeed announced it was planning to use artificial intelligence software called API to help it generate content.

OpenAI, the company that created API, also made the more popular ChatGPT, released in November of 2022.

API and ChatGPT have been used to write emails and create quizzes and listicles. It has even been used to write reports on popular books and other essay-style assignments for high school and college students.

While we have all heard about the potential of artificial intelligence for years, BuzzFeed taking the plunge and using it to create content is a big deal.

For most of us, this is the first time we can say we are seeing the technology firsthand (well, at least that will be true when we see our first AI-created quiz or article).

Up until now, AI has to most people, just been a pie-in-the-sky idea that we weren't sure how it was going to affect our lives. Or how we would interact with AI technology on a day-to-day basis.

BuzzFeed using AI, makes it real now.

And now that it is real and not just a research project some technology company in California is spending money on, maybe now is a good time to put some real money into it.

Unfortunately, OpenAI, the creator of these AI chatboxes, is not publicly traded. But, a number of other companies are developing similar technology and are publicly traded.

However, since we are still very much in the infancy stages of AI technology, my suggestion is not to try and cherry-pick the AI winners today but bet on the idea that AI as a technology will prevail. The way to do that is with Exchange Traded Funds.

Exchange Traded Funds that buy companies developing artificial intelligence and robots will expose you to the whole industry but reduce your single stock risk. Let's take a look at a few ETFs that are focused on AI, and then you can decide which one is right for you.

The first one I would like to point out is the Wisdom Tree Artificial Intelligence and Innovation Fund (WTAI). WTAI tracks an equally-weighted index of global stocks whose businesses are derived from artificial intelligence and innovation.

All companies in the fund need to generate at least 50% of their revenues from AI and innovation activities. The fund has 77 holdings, with the top 10 representing just 20% of the fund, and charges an expense ratio of 0.45%. NVDA and Taiwan Semiconductors are two of the top ten holdings.

These two stocks, for example, highlight that it is difficult to invest in companies that are directly developing AI, but we need semiconductors to operate AI technology. This is just something investors need to be aware of since the industry is still so young.

The next two ETFs are very similar since they both focus on robotics and artificial intelligence. The iShares Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Multisector ETF (IRBO) and the Global X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence ETF (BOTZ) have expense ratios of 0.47% and 0.68%, respectively.

IRBO has 114 positions, while BOTZ holds just 44 positions. IRBO also has only 12% of the fund's assets tied up in the top ten holdings, while BOTZ has 67.5% of the assets in the top ten holdings. IRBO also has a better yield, at 0.67%, than BOTZ's yield of just 0.21%.

Personally, I like IRBO for a number of reasons however BOTZ has been around a few more years and has $1.5 billion in assets, compared to IRBO's $258 million in assets. Neither fund has a dominating asset amount, but BOTZ is in a much better financial situation.

Three more ETFs that discuss having exposure to artificial intelligence in investment guidelines are the ARK Autonomous Technology & Robotics ETF (ARKQ), the ROBO Global Robotics and Automation Index ETF (ROBO), and the ProShares MSCI Transformational Changes ETF (ANEW).

The three funds charge 0.75%, 0.95%, and 0.45%, respectively. ARKQ is the most focused with 39 holdings, while ANEW has 169 positions, but even still, ANEW's top ten holdings represent 23% of the assets.

Since the AI industry is still very much in its infancy stage, finding good AI-focused ETFs is difficult today, but it will get better in the future.

Regardless, that doesn't stop you from buying into an industry that could literally change the world someday.

Matt Thalman Contributor
Follow me on Twitter @mthalman5513

Disclosure: This contributor did not hold a position in any investment mentioned above at the time this blog post was published. This article is the opinion of the contributor themselves. The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. This contributor is not receiving compensation (other than from for their opinion.