Two Technologies… One Massive Disruption

Back in the early 1500s, everyone probably thought this guy was nuts. Sure, he could paint some incredible images, like the “Mona Lisa,” and his scientific studies were truly groundbreaking…

A concept image of a processor representing quantum computing.

Source: Amin Van / Shutterstock.com

But… his inventions?

A helicopter, scuba suit and even a robot were just some of the ideas Leonardo da Vinci put down on paper.

And these weren’t just sketches. They were very well thought out designs.

The one thing they lacked? The materials to build and run them.

Plastics, lightweight metals and the internal combustion engine wouldn’t be invented until several hundred years after Leonardo’s death. Electricity wasn’t widely used until the early 1900s.

Can you imagine sitting over Leonardo’s shoulder in 1492 as he drew up his plans for flying machines? You’d probably think the guy was out of his mind…

At the time, most found it nearly impossible to grasp Leonardo’s “inventions,” let alone believe they would be developed in the future.

Today, we can see a similar situation going on… with one big difference.

While it took hundreds of years to see Leonardo’s inventions become real… we’re going to see some of today’s craziest ideas become commonplace within the next decade.

Today I’m going to show you exactly what I’m talking about… and why our world is about to drastically change.

But first, let’s take a slight detour. I promise it’ll be worth your time – and should give you a better perspective on what you should be investing in right now

Faster Than Imaginable

To understand what we are talking about, it’s important to understand two technologies: quantum computing and artificial intelligence (AI).

Simply put, a quantum computer is incredibly faster than the computers we all use today. That’s because a quantum computer uses “qubits” as units of information. These qubits are equivalent to an infinite number of bits.

Our PCs and laptops use bits. These bits are really just binary numbers: either a “0” (off) or “I” (on). In fact, the word bit is a contraction of “binary” and “digit.”

This is all to say that qubits are much more capable than bits and make for much, much faster computers.

(If you want to explode your brain, just read this article about qubits. )

How fast, you ask?

In 2019, Google researchers created a mathematical problem that would take the world’s most powerful supercomputer (IBM’s Summit, aka OLCF-4, a classic computer) 10,000 years to solve.

Then, it fed that same mathematical problem to Google’s quantum computer, named Sycamore.

Sycamore solved it in 200 seconds.

That means Sycamore is 158 million times faster than Summit.

And that was in 2019…

In 2020, a team of Chinese scientists announced that they had built a quantum computer (named Jiuzhang 2) “100 trillion times faster than the world’s fastest supercomputers.” That made it “10 billion times faster” than Sycamore.

And now, in 2021, a team of Harvard and MIT physicists say their previously stealth company, QuEra Computing, has something important to share…

While Google’s Sycamore quantum computer is 53 qubits, and China’s Jiuzhang 2 is 60 qubits… QuEra announced that they have built a supercomputer with 256 qubits… and expect to reach more than 1,000 qubits within the next two years.

We’re talking about computing capabilities that are virtually impossible to fathom. That’s because the human brain has difficulty quantifying these sorts of enormous, unrelatable numbers.

Let me show you…

  • 1 million seconds = 12 days
  • 1 billion seconds = 31 years
  • 1 trillion seconds = 31,688 years
  • 1 quadrillion seconds = over 31 million years

See what I mean?

So instead of trying to fully understand the power of a quantum computer, let’s just assume they are like the speed of light compared to a snail.

OK, onto to AI…

Doing What Humans Can’t

There is no perfect way to explain AI because there are still so many unknowns.

AI theorist Eliezer Yudkowsky summarizes it well:

“By far, the greatest danger of Artificial Intelligence is that people conclude too early that they understand it.”

When a machine is able to observe and take in information about its surroundings and then make autonomous decisions to react to those surroundings, we have AI.

For a simple example of AI in action, consider your credit card. As you use your credit card pretty much only at the grocery stores, restaurants and gas stations in your neighborhood, AI software algorithms learn your purchase behavior. That way, if someone suddenly uses your card to try to buy a scooter in Nigeria, that behavior looks irregular… and that AI software declines the transaction.

Obviously, this is a basic example. The point is that it took AI to notice the irregular charge.

AI can be implemented in all sorts of functions. Email sorting, advertising, navigation and weather forecasting are just a few of the thousands of functions that currently utilize AI.

As you can imagine, the way we implement AI has drastically different computing requirements. While personal computers can support most of the AI we use today, other scenarios require much, MUCH more computing power.

AI + Quantum Computing = Massive Disruption

Last month, there were two very important but somewhat under-the-radar announcements in the psychedelics world.

First was that researchers from the University of British Columbia identified 8.9 million new designer drugs (mostly psychoactive). They did this with AI that developed chemical structures of potential new drugs.

Although this news may seem to only apply to the illegal drug market, there are much bigger implications here. Which leads us to the second announcement…

Private company April19 discovered 17 psychedelic compounds that could eventually be used in global mental health therapy.

As reported by LA Weekly:

“Essentially, April19 taught the AI the work of Alexander Shulgin. Shulgin is the godfather of modern psychedelic science and most notably invented MDMA among an array of other beneficial substances he would sample with his wife before bringing them to dinner parties with friends. April19 told the AI to go nuts. In the process, the AI identified 17 new compounds that have the potential to provide healing benefits.

“But it gets crazier.

“With the DEA’s approval of an increase in the psychedelic research supply chain, there is going to be tons of data for the AI to process over the next 24 months as more psilocybin and MDMA is eventually divided up between researchers across the nation. The AI will be able to use any kind of human data it’s able to get its hands on moving forward to make its process even more refined.”

Don’t get lost in the psychedelic drugs part of this story. Pay attention to the bigger picture here…

Computers are discovering new chemical compounds that can significantly alter our everyday lives.

In the case of psychedelics, these private companies not only can discover these compounds, but also can patent them. This could provide protection for these companies to test these drugs in U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clinical trials and bring new drugs to market as prescribed pharmaceuticals.

If you’ve been paying attention to Big Pharma and biotech stock prices during Covid-19, then you know this is big, BIG business.

Now think about applying this technology to other industries… like longevity.

Imagine what will happen when AI and quantum computing help us discover chemical compounds that will extend lifespan?

(Technically, it’s already happening, and I recommended one of those longevity companies to readers of my premium Venture Capital Investor service just a couple of months ago. We plan to launch VC Investor to the public in early 2022… so stay tuned. I’ll send you the details as soon as they’re available.)

When you combine the power of AI with the speed of quantum computing, the possibilities are endless.

The future is very, very bright.

For investors who can see past all the short-term noise, we are on the cusp of a period of massive technological disruption.

Changes will be happening faster and with greater magnitude than humanity has ever seen.

And we’ll be there to invest on the ground floor.

On the date of publication, Cody Shirk did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

By focusing on megatrends that will shape the future, Cody Shirk uncovers generational wealth in the private investing space. To make sure you never miss Venture Capital Digest, click here to subscribe.


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