Van Bryan here, Jeff Brown’s longtime managing editor. Over the past few days, we’ve looked back at the biggest tech stories of 2019. And Jeff has shared his biggest 2020 predictions around 5G, AI, genetic editing, and cryptocurrencies.
Today, we conclude our 2020 prediction series with a discussion on one of our readers’ favorite subjects: quantum supremacy. Read on to see what advancements Jeff sees in the new year.
And as a final note, Jeff even included a few “bonus predictions,” including who he thinks will win the next presidential election. Read on…
– Van Bryan
Jeff Brown’s 2020 Tech Predictions: Quantum Supremacy and America’s Next President…
Van Bryan: Jeff, today is our final installment of your 2020 predictions series. We’re going to talk about quantum computing, and you even have some bonus predictions for readers.
But first things first, could you share your insights on what to expect from quantum computing?
Jeff Brown: So let’s first catch up on the big news in 2019. Because this was the year that “it” happened. We will likely remember this moment for the rest of our lives.
In September of 2019, we reached the point of quantum supremacy.
That’s the point at which a quantum computer can outperform the most powerful classical supercomputer on earth. Here’s what happened…
Google ran tests on its 53-qubit quantum computer. In those tests, it gave the quantum computer a task that would take the world’s most powerful supercomputer, Summit, 10,000 years to complete.
The quantum computer finished in three minutes and 20 seconds. Beyond amazing.
The age of quantum supremacy is here now. And it’s going to change everything.
Van: When we look forward to 2020, what should we expect from quantum computing?
Jeff: It’s important to remember that Google’s quantum computer had 53 qubits. We don’t need to worry about the specifics too much. Just know that we can associate the number of qubits with the power of the quantum computer. The more qubits, the more quantum computing power there is.
And here’s what I predict for 2020: The world will see its first 256-qubit quantum computer.
Van: Why is that such an important milestone?
Jeff: When people refer to military-grade encryption, it’s called 256-bit encryption. That’s the standard for security and encryption technology.
But the moment you have a 256-qubit quantum computer, you can crack that encryption software in seconds. It’s game over.
The result will be panic. Corporations and governments need to secure their data. But how do you do that when quantum computers can crack the best encryption software that quickly?
Van: Do you think we will see a major data breach caused by a quantum computer in 2020?
Jeff: It’s hard to say. But I’m hopeful we won’t. And that’s because quantum computers are controlled by such a limited number of corporations right now. They are powerful, but only a few players have control over them for now.
That said, China does have a quantum computer… I wouldn’t be surprised if the Chinese government used it against American assets. We are just going to have to wait and see.
But one thing I would like to point out is that this presents an interesting investment opportunity.
As you can imagine, the cybersecurity company that figures out how to make quantum-resistant encryption software would be an excellent investment target. I’m actively looking for cybersecurity firms that can fight this threat of quantum computing advancements.
And when I find them, my readers will be the first to know.
Van: Great stuff, Jeff. I know you’ll keep tracking the progress of quantum computing. But I understand you also have a few bonus predictions for readers.
Jeff: That’s right. We could think of it as a “speed round.”
Van: Fire away…
Jeff: Bonus prediction No. 1…
Amazon’s new midsized grocery store format for its cashierless shopping, or grab-and-go shopping, will be a stunning success. We talked about this back in November.
It will catch people off guard. But it will be all the rage in the cities where they open. Remember, consumers can just walk in, grab what they need, throw it in the basket, and walk out without any interaction whatsoever.
The Amazon Go stores, which are small convenience stores without cashiers, are immensely popular already. Now, apply that at a larger scale for goods and products that consumers need on a daily basis. It’s going to be even more successful because it has that much more utility.
So I predict this will lead to the wholesale disruption of retail shopping. And Amazon is going to lead that charge.
Van: That’s No. 1. What’s No. 2?
Jeff: Bonus prediction No. 2…
Believe it or not, I’m going to make a prediction for the presidential election.
I predict the U.S. economy will continue to grow in 2020 with historically low unemployment rates. We’ll also have continued progress with new trade deals.
All of this – even with the impeachment – will result in President Trump’s reelection by an even wider margin than what he won in 2016. And this will set the markets up for even further growth in 2021 and 2022.
No matter our politics, I’m sure we can all agree a healthy U.S. economy and fairer trade deals will be something to celebrate.
Van: And No. 3?
Jeff: Bonus prediction No. 3…
2020 will be the biggest year for initial public offerings since 2001. We will see the largest number of IPO filings. We will see the largest number of initial public offerings. We will see the largest number of technology IPOs. We will see the largest amount of money raised in technology IPOs. All in just the next 12 months.
For the last decade, record amounts of venture capital and private equity have been invested in the technology sector. There has been so much money invested that there really wasn’t a need for these technology companies to go public. They were able to stay private for years longer than what used to be normal.
But the time is up.
All that private capital has had its money tied up – in many cases – for more than a decade. And they are asking for an exit so that they can get a return on their invested capital.
That only happens in one of two ways. Either a larger technology company acquires the private company, or the private technology company has an IPO.
Either way, that means that investors will have an opportunity to invest in these bleeding-edge companies for the first time ever. Couple that with what I believe will be a strong economic market in 2020, and we’re in for an incredible year of technology investing.
Van: I’m sure I’m speaking for all your readers when I say I’m looking forward to the year ahead, Jeff. Thanks again.
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