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AI, sustainability, elections dominate 2024 CEO talks
Wed, 27th Mar 2024

Artificial Intelligence (AI), sustainability and upcoming elections have emerged as the top three trending themes dominating CEO discussions in Q1 2024, according to results of the latest quarterly company earnings call analysis by IoT Analytics.

A comprehensive dataset of earnings call transcripts from over 6,000 US-listed firms was scrutinised to arrive at the findings.

IoT Analytics' research indicates that the dialogue around AI has continued to expand beyond ChatGPT and other chatbots towards individual technologies, notably Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) and Large Language Models (LLMs). Further, conversations on economic topics such as recession markedly declined, although mentions of inflation saw a surge.

Knud Lasse Lueth, CEO at IoT Analytics, observed that, "CEO discussions clearly reflect a growing focus on AI, with one in three executives highlighting its significance during their earnings calls. The discussions around GPUs and LLMs have seen a notable increase, indicating a deeper engagement with the technological aspects of AI. There is also a renewed emphasis on sustainability, although we have yet to surpass the engagement levels of Q1 2022."

It appears the hype surrounding ChatGPT has receded, and executives are demonstrating greater interest in how to create value by integrating LLMs into their operations and products, noted Philipp Wegner, Principal Analyst at IoT Analytics. Series of detailed discussions on integrating LLM strategies were also observed during Q1 2024, indicating a growing corporate focus on AI application over hype.

The term sustainability saw an 18.5% QoQ increase in Q1 2024, with 21.8% of earnings calls mentioning it, reversing its two-year low in Q4 2023. Keywords related to sustainability such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, and emission also showed significant gains, suggesting an undying corporate interest in the topics. While these metrics still fall slightly below the peak of Q1 2022, the rising discourse signifies a resurgence of interest and re-emphasises sustainability's pivotal role in driving businesses in every market.

Additionally, IoT Analytics' research found that the keyword ‘Election’ registered a 28.4% increase in Q1 2024, highlighting the growing awareness amongst executives of upcoming elections across the US, India, Indonesia, UK and European Union, which could impact their business operations.

While these themes gained traction in Q1 2024, both ChatGPT and conversations on recession and other economic concerns saw a decline, although inflation continued to be the most talked about tracked topic. The report notes that this doesn't necessarily signify a decline in ChatGPT usage but rather a shift in executive dialogue towards real-world AI applications and enterprise-grade projects.

In conclusion, the latest IoT Analytics report reflects the broad shifts in priorities and concerns among corporate leaders, focusing primarily on AI's evolving technology, sustainability initiatives, and the potential impact of global elections. As these themes continue to shape boardroom discussions, they may equally direct the future investment strategies of many businesses worldwide.