It must be something in the Human DNA.
People are always intrigued with what the future will look like. Never satisfied with how things are, it is our ever-longing desire to improve, innovate, invent, and drive forward. This includes faster, better, cleaner (sometimes), and easier.
By the time you get to the end of this piece, you will read about the past, and how it can help you in the future. I will speak of fire and brimstone, but realize, I am here to help you make money. How do I do that? Hopefully make you think, pry your eyes open with sticks, and self-deprecate myself (a little) so you can realize this opportunity is available to all of us now.
What they had in the 1950 modern kitchen was considered revolutionary. I remember as a kid going to the science and Industry museum when I was like 6, and saw the “house of tomorrow”. From memory, it had items that seemed so advanced that it was more amusing than anything else. Put a dish into a box and have it cooked in 3 minutes…ha! Speak into the air to someone, and it didn’t have a dial pad or a cord…double ha! They were trying to tell me something, even back then. Sometimes it’s right there under your nose!
But again, let’s discuss the matter on hand…our future. To do this, we must again; look at our past.
I have always said, how I must have been born too late. Remember, hindsight is 20/20. If I was just around when Henry Ford (who did NOT invent the automobile but DID develop and implement mass production) was taking on investors, I would have it made! If I was around when Thomas Edison was inventing the lightbulb, phonograph, or 100 other items…I would have seen it.
But unfortunately for my excuse, I was around for Apple, Facebook, Amazon and others.
The early problems and basic clumsiness of the computers in the 1980’s (remember; no “personal computers” back then and there was literally only one monitor / screen for the entire College of Businesses at my major university) blinded me from the bigger picture. In 1980, I took my first computer class which involved a 20 ft massive card feeder that made holes in cardboard files (like voting sheets) that ran down the entire room to form a code. From this exercise, approximately 200 cards later, the computer was able to print out my name. Not exactly a glowing advertisement (for me) for computers. I Just couldn’t see it.
By the time Facebook came around in 2004, I was out of college and freshly single. The world was still using AOL, almost exclusively, and I had just learned how to “cut and paste” (all self-taught, mind you). I was more interested in this new thing called “Match.com” which was relatively new and like a Christmas morning each day for a single guy like me…who needed Facebook! (Ok…my eyes were off the ball).
Amazon stayed off my radar because as a kid in high school, I was forced to write a two-page paper on a one paragraph piece of a book. How the heck can you do that? Since Amazon began as an online bookstore…who wanted that?!
Ok, have I learned my lesson? I’m determined to not miss this next one. Let’s talk about the future.
Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Internet of Things (IOT) and Big Data management
Here it is guys, the holy grail. Not buzz words; but the future. A tectonic shift in the world’s landscape that will affect everyone of our lives, ability to make money, the way we eat, live, and travel. This doesn’t come along often, but in todays world, its pace is faster than ever. If it seems like the world is moving fast…it is! What used to take 20 years in adoption, seems like is now taking 5.
I believe it and I have seen the light. The signs are all around us just like they were in the past, but you must open your eyes. You must see the big picture.
What we must understand is that these are all interconnected (no pun intended) and the glue is data, and the accelerant is AI. It’s not just the amount of data. That has been around us for a long time. Data is worthless until it is turned into information. The company that can aggregate that information and make it useful will have a more valuable product than any gadget you could ever create. This is the basis of our portfolio company BlueBox.care. They won’t be the only ones, but a few things are obvious to me:
- Robots will become mainstream and will be incredibly useful for both social, like they are in Japan for the elderly, and commercial. Take routine and mundane tasks and give them to a robot. It won’t take a vacation or coffee break. But what if this robot can gather all the things that can go wrong in its daily task and make things better? Seals wear out, machines are not greased on time, lights running at a certain level are costing 15% extra. What if this data can be compared with every other factory in the country? In the world? What kind of efficiency can then happen? What if the social companion can observe its owner 24 hours a day. It collects this data and compares it with others in that demographic. Remember…it’s not just age demographic but geographical. This again can be aggregated and produce astounding information. Can humans do this and at the speed of light, day in and day out?
- Internet of Things (IOT) is all encompassing and goes well beyond the Amazon echo giving you fun facts, your smart house telling you that you haven’t ordered milk in 5 days, or your fitbit and how many steps you took. What if all this data could get to your physician and allow that doctor to compare it against all other people in your demographic…in your state…in your country…in the world?! Do you think it would lead to better healthcare? This is what Quantum’s PWeR platform was based on and designed to do…another of our portfolio companies. Again, there will be others, but the driving force is better healthcare while simultaneously reducing costs.
What’s the fuel and the glue?
Artificial intelligence will drive the data faster, and ever better each time. As it learns, it will continuously improve with more and more data. For example, Oncologists in Japan were able to download tens of thousands of scans and in a fraction of time, the computer was able to screen new patients with higher accuracy than the most trained physician in merely a second. The more it scans the more accurate and faster it will become.
Starting to sound scary? It should.
The social trade-offs and the economic impacts are coming. While improving with a quantum leap, we are simultaneously displacing existing positions. This monster that we have created will change the world. It will destroy millions of jobs and create millions in different capacities. It will affect how governments must plan for revenues from taxes, and how people decide career paths. It is coming and there is no stopping it. Instead, I urge you to embrace it, and profit from it. Bottom and top line: In with the new and out with the old…including my portfolio.