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The Industrial Revolution in the 21st Century

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data convergence creates disruption and opportunity.


The proliferation and integration of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and big data is being called the fourth iteration of the Industrial Revolution. As with any disruptive force of this magnitude and long-term impact, there will be many winners and losers; many investment careers will be shaped by how individuals choose to participate in this revolution. As advisors to executives, private equity professionals, company founders, and others whose futures are tied to their ability to adapt and evolve, our team is immersed within the executive ranks and the companies helping shape the future.


The history of AI dates back to ancient times. Thinking machines and artificial beings have appeared in the myths of most major civilizations for centuries, while philosophers and mathematicians have been developing mechanical or “formal” reasoning for ages. Since the 1960s two booms in AI have occurred, each followed by a period of slower progress. Currently, progress with machine learning and deep learning is driving an increase in AI diffusion.

The broad field of AI is the science of making machines or software smart. The phrase was coined in the early 1950s by American computer and cognitive scientist John McCarthy, who defined it as “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines.” AI has become an essential part of technology and is increasingly doing the heavy lifting on the most challenging problems in computer science.

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Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. does not provide legal or tax advice, but will work with your other advisors to assure your needs are addressed. The opinions of the author expressed herein are subject to change without notice and do not necessarily reflect those of the Firm. Additional information is available upon request. Investors should review potential investments with their financial advisor for the appropriateness of that investment with their investment objectives, risk tolerances and financial circumstances.

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