(Bloomberg) -- The mania for artificial intelligence is showing no sign of letting up in corporate America, with references to AI and related terms during calls with investors more than doubling from a year ago. 

Companies are scrambling to show they’re at the forefront of finding ways to use algorithms that can parse enormous quantities of information based on simple prompts or images. AI promises to change the way business gets done, from hiring (or firing) staff to calming angry customers in an online chat. Growing alarm from industry leaders and governments at the potential dangers of the new technology hasn’t deterred companies from voicing their commitment. 

The discussions build on the wave of interest following OpenAI’s launch of the ChatGPT chatbot in November, which drove a 77% pickup in mentions of AI in earnings calls in the fourth quarter. The pace only intensified in the first-quarter calls — there have been 1,072 mentions so far among companies in the S&P 500, from Meta Platforms Inc. to Alphabet Inc. and well beyond the tech industry.  

Online travel agency Expedia Group Inc., which reported a pickup in gross bookings in the first quarter, said its “performance was enhanced” by accelerating the use of AI and machine learning, including the integration of ChatGPT in its iOS app. Drugmaker Moderna Inc. said it’s opening a tech hub in Seattle that will help expand its AI capabilities, while food manufacturer Kraft Heinz Co. said the algorithms are helping it reduce waste.

Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook expressed cautious optimism about the flood of new AI services, saying that while they have huge potential, there also are “a number of issues that need to be sorted.” On Thursday’s earnings call, Cook noted that Apple already uses AI across much of its lineup, including in features like fall detection on its smartwatch. The company will continue to add the technology to more of its products, he said, but on a “very thoughtful basis.”

Companies outside the S&P 500 Index are also focused on the issue.

Coinbase Global Inc. is taking a closer look at AI and how it could affect all parts of its business, according to Chief Financial Officer Alesia Haas. The biggest US cryptocurrency exchange is examining how it could improve the experiences of customers in a cost-efficient way.

The comments come after industry experts and leaders have sounded the alarm about “out-of-control” development, with Elon Musk and others signing a petition to call for a pause in some activity. Tech industry leaders met Thursday with Vice President Kamala Harris to discuss oversight, and the White House has pledged to support new rules to mitigate harms from AI. 

--With assistance from Brad Skillman.

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