AI Has Replaced Big Data As the Buzzword of the Moment, Data Shows

Remember back in 2015 when everyone was obsessed with the concept of “big data”? Now there’s a new tech buzzword on the block.

You don’t take have to take my word for it (although as a tech writer I can confirm that explorations of big data’s impact on businesses everywhere were huge in 2015). Thanks to the handwork of the good people at research firm CBSInsights, data trends can be mined from the past ten years’ worth of earnings transcripts from 6000+ public companies. Here’s what they said.

AI: So Hot Right Now

Artificial intelligence is king.

“Today, the heir apparent to big data is ‘artificial intelligence.’ In fact, the zeitgeist around AI dwarfs what we saw with big data,” the report noted before backing up this claim with the data: “‘AI’ and ‘artificial intelligence’ were mentioned 791 times in just Q3’17. This was a 25 percent increase from 632 AI terms the previous quarter.”


For comparison: “Big Data saw a consistent level of 200+ mentions on earnings calls over nearly 5 years.”

Companies ranging from Procter & Gamble to Bed Bath & Beyond are mentioning AI, proving that the impact of the tech innovation is being felt across industries beyond just tech.

Amazon Is Hot, Too

Google might officially still be the best company to work at in 2017, but it’s already lost out in the “earning call mentions” metric: At a stunning near-3,000 instances, the company mentioned most often across 2017’s earnings calls was Amazon.

“As Amazon reaches into groceries, apparel, brick-and-mortar commerce, cloud computing, transport & logistics, digital advertising, and more, we can expect this obsession with Amazon will only climb,” CBSInsights explained.

Just because businesses are discussing Amazon and AI is no indicator that they are taking advantage of their interests, of course. This data is more useful as a barometer for where businesses are channeling their 2017 anxiety than an indicator of  any actionable advice.

But, needless to say, everyone and their mother is keeping an eye on Amazon’s approach to artificial intelligence.

Read more about the latest business analysis on TechCo

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Adam is a writer at and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for more than a decade. He was a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry, for which he was named a Digital Book World 2018 award finalist. His work has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect, and his art history book on 1970s sci-fi, 'Worlds Beyond Time,' is out from Abrams Books in July 2023. In the meantime, he's hunting down the latest news on VPNs, POS systems, and the future of tech.
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