- You’ve likely used an AI without even realizing it
- Nuclear fusion will be here within five years. Download this free report for the proof
- If you make only one investment in your life, it should be this
Welcome to our weekly mailbag edition of The Bleeding Edge. All week, you submitted your questions about the biggest trends in technology. Today, I’ll do my best to answer them.
I’m writing to you from the campus of MIT this week. I’m attending the 2019 STAT Summit. The event is specifically focused on the world of biotechnology and bleeding-edge developments in the world of medical science.
This is the inaugural year for the summit, and it was invite-only. The demand to attend was through the roof. The executive editor said on stage that he had to turn down far more applications to attend than there were executives in attendance.
It has been hands down one of the best conferences I’ve attended all year. Some of the comments that I’ve heard are extraordinary, and I look forward to sharing those with you next week in The Bleeding Edge.
Additionally, some incredible things are happening in the world of CRISPR genetic editing…
I’ll give you all the details in our special weekend edition of The Bleeding Edge this Sunday morning. Be sure you keep an eye on your inbox.
But for now, let’s turn to our mailbag.
And remember, if you have a question you’d like answered next week, be sure you submit it right here.
This is the time of everyday AI…
First up is a great question about bringing AI to the masses…
Hello, Jeff. I have always been very interested in AI computers. Are you aware of an AI system that an individual can purchase that has cutting-edge technology incorporated, such as possible voice commands, voice-programmable systems, or a computer that has the capacity to think? Thank you.
– Wayne L.
Hello, Wayne. Thanks for writing in. I’m happy to hear you’re interested in learning more about artificial intelligence.
I know we might imagine AI as something run on a supercomputer exclusively for large corporations. But you might be surprised to learn that you’ve likely already used the type of AI system you described without even knowing it.
Have you ever spoken to a digital assistant like Google’s Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, or Apple’s Siri? Roughly one in three Americans own a smart speaker with a digital assistant.
And these digital assistants are very intuitive. They understand human speech, can infer meaning, and provide responses that are very accurate. As you probably guessed, all of that is only possible thanks to AI and natural language processing.
And these digital assistants are “learning” all the time. Amazon’s Alexa, for instance, has “self-learning.” The digital assistant can infer from context clues. An example would be if you asked Alexa to “play XM Chill,” but the request fails because that’s not how Alexa cataloged the station. If you follow up with “play Sirius channel 53,” the AI will learn to associate those two phrases.
And it might surprise you to know how advanced these AI systems will become.
As an example, Duplex is Google’s bleeding-edge AI that can carry on phone conversations just like a human. And the technology is incredible. The AI sounds just like a person… including quirky mannerisms like “um” and “mm-hmm.”
You can watch Google Duplex schedule two appointments by going here. The first appointment is for a haircut at a local salon. The second is for a restaurant reservation, and the AI had to communicate with somebody who had a heavy accent.
In both cases, Duplex handled the calls flawlessly.
It’s Siri on steroids, in other words…
There’s no other way to say it… It’s impressive.
It’s so good that it’s not a stretch to imagine the widespread use of this technology.
Imagine it’s Mother’s Day. Imagine saying, “Google Assistant, please send flowers to my mother on Sunday. She likes roses. The budget is $70.” And then the AI takes care of it… just like that.
These products aren’t perfect right now. You may know this if you have one already (if you don’t, I recommend Amazon’s Echo – Alexa). But here’s the thing… They are improving each month, significantly.
Before the end of 2020, these digital assistants will become immensely useful in our daily lives. And Amazon has already come out with a pair of smart glasses that links to a smartphone… so we can have Alexa with us throughout the day.
The developments in AI supporting advanced natural language processing in digital assistants will be one of the most exciting trends of 2020. It will also be very widespread, as this technology is a consumer product that anyone can use.
Nuclear fusion will be here in five years…
Next up… I must have struck a nerve…
If you missed it, on Wednesday, I told readers about the Japanese government’s plan to build 11 solar plants and 10 wind farms on the site of the decommissioned Fukushima nuclear power plant.
I wrote that this move was purely a public relations stunt. The wind and solar energy won’t come close to replacing the power that the Fukushima reactor could produce. And it comes at a staggering cost of $2.7 billion.
Japan, I said, would have been better off investing in nuclear fusion technology. (As a reminder, nuclear fusion is different from nuclear fission. Nuclear fusion replicates the power of the Sun. It is 100% clean energy that can produce power 24 hours per day… with no radiation or nuclear waste of any kind.)
And in response, I got reader feedback like this…
Jeff, nuclear fusion reactors do not exist!!!
– Richard B.
Isn’t nuclear fusion still years away as a viable method of providing energy?
– Robert F.
All I will say is fusion is not going to be viable anytime soon in our lifetimes!
– Jeff M.
I was at Los Alamos with my Explorer Post more than 50 years ago. [Nuclear fusion] was impossible then, and it is my understanding that it is still impossible.
– Jay P.
First off, thanks to everybody who wrote in. I love seeing readers so engaged.
One of the reasons that there are so many great investment opportunities in technology is that not everyone knows the state of technological development. Human nature is along the lines of “if I can’t see it, feel it, or hear it… it doesn’t exist.”
It’s easy to fall into that trap. But just because nuclear fusion doesn’t currently fuel our homes doesn’t mean that the technology doesn’t exist. To be very clear, nuclear fusion technology does exist. Prototype reactors have already been built in several places around the world.
The race is on. Both government-backed agencies and well-funded private companies are working hard to develop and optimize their nuclear fusion reactor designs. And yes, a nuclear fusion reactor has already produced energy.
In fact, I attended a very private, invite-only industry event earlier this year and spoke with some of the leading nuclear physicists in the world. It is incredible what is happening right now. The industry is rapidly working toward evolving the technology toward net energy output and the commercialization of this incredible technology.
I stand by my prediction. Nuclear fusion isn’t a pipe dream that may be achieved in the very distant future. The technology is very real. And I predict we will see the first net energy nuclear fusion technology within five years. And after that, it will be a race to mass commercialization.
Rather than giving you all the details here, I invite you to see the evidence for yourself. I recently put together a special research briefing on nuclear fusion and the one early stage company that will make it a viable energy source in the very near future.
I’m making this research available to Bleeding Edge subscribers to say thank you for reading. To download your free report and learn more about the future of nuclear fusion, click here to read the research for yourself.
All I ask is for readers to keep an open mind and understand that just because it’s is not in our backyards, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. In fact, it may become an incredible investment opportunity…
If you make one “investment,” in your life, it should be this…
This last question really caught my eye. I’m glad I have a chance to answer it…
If one of your children came to you and asked for you to name the ONE investment you would put money into and leave for 30 years, what would you say? This is for a paper for [my daughter’s] class in high school. But I am sure a lot of people would be interested in your thoughts.
– Marty R.
Thanks for the question, Marty. My answer probably isn’t what you envisioned…
I’d place the money into a fund used only for education for my children or grandchildren. I can think of nothing else that would generate a higher return on investment.
The days of going to school, getting a good undergraduate degree, and being guaranteed a nice career are over. It may be uncomfortable to most, but the pace of technological change is now moving so quickly, it is impossible to only go to school once and be done for life.
The next 30 years will require new skills and training every few years in order to keep up with the rate of technological change.
Those with good careers will be willing to regularly educate themselves, will be flexible, and will stay current with new technologies that apply to their areas of interest.
Those who refuse to learn new skills, are inflexible, and are unwilling to adapt to this rapidly changing world will fail.
This kind of continuing education won’t be in the traditional format of a bachelor’s or master’s degree but in the format of nanodegrees – intensive boot camps designed to dive deep on a particular skill set related to work.
Thanks again for the question, Marty.
That’s all the time we have this week. If I didn’t get to your question this week, submit it right here, and I’ll do my best to tackle it next week.
And remember, check your inbox Sunday morning for our special weekend edition of The Bleeding Edge.
Editor, The Bleeding Edge
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