By William Studebaker via Iris.xyz

There’s never been a more exciting time to be an investor—especially in robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence where the rate of change and innovation has become exponential and is poised to surpass anything we’ve ever seen before. Perhaps it’s because of the sheer pace of change that headlines about driverless cars and self-flying delivery drones don’t turn heads these days. In fact, with advancements in robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence (or RAAI) accelerating at lightning speed, it’s a rare day when news of yet another new development captures the spotlight —no matter how amazing it may be. A hand-held translator that allows you to understand and communicate in more than 80 languages? Whatever. A computer that can crush one of the best Go players on the planet? What’s new. A humanoid robot that is granted citizenship in Saudi Arabia? Yawn. Suddenly the world of wonder we envisioned “back in the day” is no longer a galaxy far, far away, but one we’ve begin to take for granted in our everyday lives.

What does that mean for investors? Growth. Plain and simple.

Here’s the thing: robotics and AI are already an integral part of our lives. It’s hard to find an area it hasn’t touched, and we often don’t even realize it. In 2017, Amazon delivered over 5 billion Prime items in two days or less—an accomplishment that hinged on robotics-driven factory automation and AI. Siri and Alexa help us do everything from texting without a keyboard, to picking the perfect playlist, to discovering a great place to eat… and then avoiding traffic to arrive there on time. Just as the internet transformed how we work and communicate, robotics and AI is revolutionizing how we live, work, and play. Sure, talking, walking robots are cool, but while these 5 trends may seem relatively boring at first glance, they are precisely the changes that are poised to offer investors an exhilarating ride in 2018:

1. Big data, artificial intelligence, and e-commerce will dictate the new global giants.

Big data is now the #1 driver of success. That means that tomorrow’s leaders are relying more than ever on machine learning to process, trend, and analyze the massive amounts of data that tell them who is buying, what they’re buying, and when they’re buying—and then how to deliver as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.

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