• You may have used self-driving tech without realizing it…
  • This company’s chips just beat NVIDIA’s…
  • JavaScript developers are joining the blockchain movement…

Dear Reader,

One of the most interesting dynamics of the pandemic has been its impact on the adoption of technology.

I’ve often said technology companies have been lying in wait, ready to pounce on an opportunity like this to accelerate adoption.

For any technology company that provides a product or service that helps to automate a function, the pandemic has been an incredible catalyst for their growth.

And the policy-induced labor shortage exacerbated the situation. Not only has it caused massive disruptions in supply chains at the ports, but it has also caused a broader problem in finding labor to fill distribution and logistics facilities.

This has resulted in record sales of industrial robotics in North America this year. By the end of the third quarter, industrial robotics sales had already reached $1.48 billion. And they’re on track to exceed $2 billion this year.

A perfect example of how robotics is being used to address the labor shortage can be seen in Amazon’s northern Kentucky logistics hub. The commerce giant opened the $1.5 billion facility this August in order to speed up delivery and manage the sheer increase in volume of orders.

Amazon’s Northern Kentucky Air Hub – Not a Person in Sight

Source: ABC News

Packages shuffle down sleds, chutes, and conveyors to be delivered by small mobile robots that shuttle each package to a loading bay. There, they are placed on a truck for delivery to regional distribution facilities.

The striking thing to notice is that there isn’t a person in sight. With each year that passes, the software becomes more adept at carrying out these tasks, as we strive for complete autonomy.

$2 billion worth of sales this year may sound like a lot, but it’s not. We are still early in the employment of this technology.

There is so much growth ahead of us, and for those who are willing to learn new skills, there are fantastic job opportunities in this sector as well.

The kind of tiring, monotonous, and sometimes backbreaking work of picking and sorting will quickly become a thing of the past. Working with, maintaining, repairing, training, and employing robots will form the basis for the jobs of the future.

A pick-and-shovel play on self-driving cars…

A major venture capital (VC) round caught my eye recently. Applied Intuition just raised $175 million in its Series D funding round, valuing the company at an incredible $3.6 billion. Even more impressive is that it has only been around since 2017.

I doubt this is a company that anyone has heard of. Applied Intuition is one of those companies that works in the background. It provides an artificial intelligence (AI) toolkit to most of the world’s largest carmakers, as well as some new companies working in this space.

Specifically, Applied Intuition supplies carmakers with datasets that can train their AIs on whatever form of autonomous driving they want to achieve.

Applied Intuition’s AI Tools in Action

Source: Applied Intuition

For example, some companies may just want to optimize their adaptive cruise control system. This system allows the car to intelligently follow the car in front of it when cruise control is engaged. The system locks the car into a speed that will keep it a few car lengths behind the car ahead of it at all times. And it slows the car down automatically whenever the car ahead of it is braking.

I suspect many of us have experienced this kind of system. Yet we may not have realized it was a form of autonomous driving.

Right now, these adaptive cruise control systems are only available on a limited number of models. But Applied Intuition has developed training sets that will allow carmakers to widely deploy this technology in the coming years.

Of course, Applied Intuition can also provide more advanced training sets. It can help carmakers train their AIs to handle hands-free driving on highways.

It can also help companies create geofenced maps so that their AIs can handle full autonomous driving within certain areas.

So Applied Intuition is a great pick-and-shovel play on the self-driving trend.

And as seasoned investors know, these kinds of investments are often among the very best. That’s because they can serve every major company in the industry.

Their growth is based on an entire trend, not individual players. In that way, they win no matter what. They don’t have to pick sides… They simply empower an industry to be successful.

Applied Intuition is still a private company right now, but it’s absolutely one to watch. If the company doesn’t get acquired, it will certainly go public within the next few years.

When that happens, Applied Intuition could be a fantastic investment target at the right valuation.

And if readers want to invest in the self-driving trend right now, then you can go right here for more information on my top current recommendations.

The golden age of biotechnology will be powered by AI…

Early stage semiconductor company Groq just had a major breakthrough. The company demonstrated that its application-specific AI semiconductors can achieve over 300 times better performance than legacy solutions when it comes to drug discovery.

I’ll explain with a little background…

We first talked about Groq back in February of last year. That’s when the company released an AI accelerator capable of performing one quadrillion operations per second. That was four times more powerful than NVIDIA’s most powerful AI card at the time.

Well, Groq put its AI accelerator to work with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company teamed up with the Argonne National Laboratory to analyze billions of compounds, including existing drugs. Their goal was to find treatments for the coronavirus quickly.

Unfortunately, the world – including the medical community – became hyper-focused on the messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. Many disparaged inexpensive, readily available, and effective treatments for COVID-19.

So the industry paid very little attention to Groq and Argonne’s partnership. That said, the team just released performance data a few days ago… and it is incredible. Here’s a visual:

Groq’s application-specific AI semiconductors can perform up to 333 times better than NVIDIA’s high-end, general-purpose graphics processing units (GPUs).

This isn’t because NVIDIA’s tech is bad. We can think of NVIDIA’s graphics processors as being the general workhorses for artificial intelligence. What Groq did was to produce semiconductors that are highly application-specific. They are used to accelerate machine learning applications.

The performance speaks for itself. I can’t emphasize enough how impressive this is. This wouldn’t have been possible even just two years ago.

And while the medical community largely ignored the work done by Argonne and Groq during the COVID-19 pandemic, this technology can be applied to drug discovery efforts targeted at any disease or virus. I imagine the major biopharma players will scramble to adopt Groq’s tech to aid their own therapeutic development.

I’m on record saying that we are approaching a golden age for the biotechnology industry. The convergence of precision medicine, genetic editing technology, and artificial intelligence will help us develop cures for every human disease.

Groq’s technology will have a very important role to play in this process.

The company completed a $300 million Series C round earlier this year, putting the company at a $1.1 billion valuation – a unicorn. It is a prime buyout target right now in the semiconductor industry.

I hope Groq remains independent, but if it doesn’t, whoever acquires the company will be sitting on a goldmine.

This project is bringing Web 2.0 developers into the blockchain industry…

Blockchain project Agoric just went live. It launched its “mainnet” and raised $32 million in a corresponding token sale.

I suspect very few people have even heard of Agoric or understand its significance in the industry, but it’s a big deal. Agoric could very well be the gateway between our existing Web 2.0 and blockchain-based Web 3.0.

I have been following Agoric closely for a few years now. It’s a smart contract platform built on top of the Cosmos blockchain.

Cosmos is one of the top 30 or so blockchain projects right now, and it’s filling a critical role in the industry around interoperability. What makes Agoric’s tech strategy unique is that it is enabling smart contracts to be written in a Web 2.0 software language – JavaScript.

As a reminder, smart contracts are self-executing contracts programmed on the blockchain.

Two parties can transact without needing to trust each other. The smart contract ensures that the terms of the agreement are implemented automatically as outlined in the smart contract.

Smart contracts make decentralized applications possible. Popular services can become more efficient by eliminating the middlemen. For this reason, we can consider smart contracts the backbone of Web 3.0.

The significance behind Agoric’s approach is that JavaScript has the largest developer community in the world. By basing its smart contracts on JavaScript, Agoric is making it possible for millions of JavaScript developers to start programming on blockchains. There’s no learning curve for them.

To me, this is a smart strategy that will greatly accelerate blockchain-based development and the adoption of the Agoric platform.

So Agoric is going to be an exciting company to watch in 2022 now that its mainnet has launched.

And I suspect Agoric is going to find very fast adoption. That will not only be bullish for Agoric, but also for Cosmos.


Jeff Brown
Editor, The Bleeding Edge

P.S. Agoric is only one of the ways blockchain technology will grow in adoption in 2022. We’ll see cryptocurrencies, blockchain tech, and the tokenization trend combine to create a new flood of wealth for investors.

If readers haven’t already, I highly recommend checking out my recent presentation on this topic. Please don’t miss out on this big move. Simply go right here to watch.

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