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Cramer: A.I. is like steroids for business—competitors have to keep up

  • "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer says big data stocks might be some of the best possible investments for years to come.
  • Data gathering will unlock huge opportunities for companies across industries, Cramer says.
  • Giants like Netflix and Amazon are among the few that are prepared to harness A.I., he adds.

Many may think that artificial intelligence will eventually make human capabilities obsolete, but CNBC's Jim Cramer wanted to refine that theory.

"I get the sense that when it comes to the power of artificial intelligence, we're thinking way too small," the "Mad Money" host said. "We don't understand that AI might hold the key to all of sales if we simply learn how to harness it."

After all, the amount of relevant, useful data in the world is multiplying rapidly. Companies that can effectively interpret that data will have a much better sense of how to run their businesses.

Cramer found sports, particularly baseball, to be a practical comparison. Fans marveled when Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer Ted Williams played a season with a batting average of .400.

But that meant that the average amount Williams got it wrong was .600, Cramer said, a dismal statistic anywhere but in a competitive sport.

"What would happen if we had artificially intelligent baseball players?" Cramer wondered. "I'd argue that eventually, they'd all bat a thousand and we'd simply have to figure out how to keep the ball in the park. That's why robots will never be allowed to play baseball."

Artificial intelligence and big data will soon let companies to bat a thousand, Cramer said.

As of today, the only companies that Cramer has seen truly harness AI are Netflix, Amazon and Spotify. They will truly bat a thousand when the time comes by knowing what's coming and being some of the few services that consumers pay for without a second thought, he said.

But it won't be an easy fight to the top, as the CEO of top chipmaker Applied Materials told Cramer on Thursday. Since the total addressable markets for artificial intelligence are so large, an array of competitive players in every industry are incentivized to fight for a winning spot.

"To use another baseball analogy, it's like steroids — once somebody starts juicing, anyone who wants to remain competitive has to jump on the bandwagon," he explained. "Artificial intelligence is like steroids for your business."

As such, companies will need top-of-the-line semiconductors, communications equipment and data centers to seriously compete in their industries, he explained.

"That means it really is different this time," Cramer said. "In other words, artificial intelligence isn't cyclical. It's not boom-bust. It really is a secular, long-term transformation, which makes owning anything in the big data space ... in any way, shape or form [is] the place to be. Not for now. Not for next quarter. But for years to come."

WATCH: Cramer looks ahead to A.I. competition

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