Here's why Wall St. is warming up to AI

It's not science fiction anymore. From manufacturing robots to self-driving cars, Artificial Intelligence is becoming a disruptive force and playing a bigger part of human life, and some are seeing big opportunity.

Dozens of companies are working to make AI accessible, from IBM's Watson, Google's search technologies, Apple's Siri, to young startups. Facebook is increasing investment in AI and hiring academic experts in the field.

What exactly is AI? In simple terms, it means the ability of a machine to make decisions and manage knowledge and decision making. But according to Peter Chalif, Head of Structured Trading at Citi Municipal Securities, AI has fallen short of the promises of scientists, at least so far. Chalif does say AI has transitioned out of the lab in the last few years into the mainstream and will continue to do so in the coming years.

So, why is AI changing things now? Improved accessibility, rapidly expanding computing capacity, and the explosion of available data is fueling growth. Humans can manage about seven variables in their memory versus computers which have no limit.

The investing world is also getting in on the AI action. According to Citi, right now Robo Advisers generally target investments based on basic analysis. But, given that certain hedge funds use machine learning to drive or assist their investment, it's likely Robo Advisors will move to that as well.