• Google achieves its second quantum milestone
  • I wish I had this tech when I was an executive…
  • Like Siri…on steroids

Dear Reader,

The incredible success of SpaceX’s Starlink division came as a surprise to the entire aerospace industry. Since the very first launch of 60 satellites in May of 2019, Starlink launched and deployed the largest constellation of satellites in history in just a matter of a couple years.

Now numbering more than 3,500 satellites in low earth orbit (LEO), Starlink is able to provide broadband internet access to just about any inhabited corner of the globe.

Visualizing Starlink’s Mega Constellation

Source: Business Insider

And last month was a major milestone. 

The first launch of Starlink’s second generation satellites, capable of transmitting high throughput data to one another using laser technology, was a success. I have long maintained that this technology will be used to build out a space-based internet backhaul capability which will be invaluable to both corporations and governments alike.

It’s an incredible accomplishment in such a short period of time. The weekly regularity of successful SpaceX launches combined with the consistency of deployment of Starlink satellites have resulted in what is effectively internet infrastructure in space.

And now it is being seen as a threat by China. Code named “GW”, which stands for Guo Wang – or “national network” – China has disclosed its plans to deploy its own answer to Starlink as quickly as possible.

The plan is to deploy 12,992 satellites into low earth orbit in an effort to prevent Starlink from “hogging” low earth orbit resources.

A new state owned organization will be responsible for the new constellation – the China Satellite Network Group. But according to a paper published days ago in a China-based journal – Command and Control Simulation – the objective isn’t just to provide internet access.

One of the stated purposes is to carry out “anti-Starlink” missions. This includes both spying on and even disabling Starlink satellites.

This is a very real program as China has already been testing about 60 prototype satellites as a precursor to this anti-Starlink network. And with China’s successful commissioning of its own space station last year, it is clearly increasing its commitment to access to space-based resources in the years ahead.

It’s surprising how open the discussions have been. We have seen stated intentions of building a counter to Starlink’s network, something capable of taking out satellites. 

SpaceX and Starlink are, after all, private companies. They are not owned by the U.S. government, and yet China sees SpaceX/Starlink as a major threat. The reason of course is that Starlink does provide services to divisions of the U.S. government, and its sheer existence is a strategic asset to any party that has access to this space-based infrastructure.

As if there aren’t enough geopolitical tensions on Earth right now, we’re about to have them in space. 

Given how quickly resources are being deployed into orbit, and soon to the Moon, we’ve entered into a space race that will soon make the late 60’s and early 70’s look like child’s play.

Google’s latest quantum computing breakthrough…

If we remember, Google upended the world when it announced that it had achieved quantum supremacy back in September 2019. We’ll look back on that as one of the biggest breakthroughs of our lives.

Quantum supremacy is the point at which a quantum computer can outperform the most powerful classical super computers on Earth. So naturally, Google’s announcement caught the attention of the entire tech industry.

But then something odd happened. Google went quiet. The company has been mum about its progress with quantum computing ever since.

Until now.

Google just published some new quantum computing research. And it reveals that Google just hit its second major quantum milestone.

The new breakthrough is that Google was able to reduce errors while at the same time scaling its quantum computing system. This is significant.

As we’ve discussed before, the base unit of information within a quantum computer is called a “qubit”. And the more qubits a system contains, the more powerful it is.

But that assumes that the system can function by correcting for errors that are so typical in quantum computers. And historically, the larger the quantum system, the more prone it is for errors.

And that’s why this announcement is so important. Google not only reduced the error rate within its quantum system – it did so while also making it more powerful.

To accomplish this, Google made upgrades to both the hardware and the software. And then they also improved the cryogenic equipment that allows the computer to run in chambers that maintain temperatures just above absolute zero. That’s colder than deep space.

And get this – this is step two in Google’s six-step plan to roll out a fully functional 1,000-qubit quantum computer.

The team expects to take the next four steps over the next six years. That would keep Google on track to releasing a functional fault tolerant quantum computing system by 2029.

And here’s the thing – the system Google aspires to build would be over one hundred million times more powerful that the most powerful supercomputer on the planet right now. The leap in performance is so massive, it’s hard to comprehend.

Just imagine what a computing system of that caliber will be capable of doing…

We could “unleash” this technology on problems that are so grand, so complex that they haven’t even been attempted yet because we just don’t have the computing capabilities.

This technology could be applied to some really big questions in cosmology or astrophysics. What is the origin of the Universe? And what is the future of the Universe based on what we are seeing now?

Or even think of more everyday problems. Do we want to optimize traffic patterns for an entire metropolitan area to limit or erase congestion? Or how about the same for the global air transportation market? We could apply it to climatology and get absolutely accurate weather forecasts weeks in advance.

And the good news is that we’re not going to have to wait until 2029 before quantum computers are enabling breakthroughs. 

Quantum computers are widely available in the cloud for solving optimization problems right now, and with every year that passes they become better and better at error correction, making them that much more functional.

Given the number of exciting public and private companies in this space, combined with the level of investment, we’re in for some major breakthroughs later this year.

The AI-powered replacement for Microsoft PowerPoint…

During my time as a corporate executive, I created more PowerPoint presentations than I care to remember. The number is in the hundreds. And they each took hours and sometimes days to put together.

Back then, I really wish I had this new technology from a company called Tome.

Tome just raised $43 million in its Series B round. And the round’s backers are quite impressive. They include several prominent VC firms as well as former Google founder and CEO Eric Schmidt and the CEO of generative AI giant Stable Diffusion.

Tome uses generative AI for a focused but incredible useful purpose. It creates presentations. Check this out:

An AI-Generated Slide Deck

Source: Tome

Here we can see Tome’s AI in action. A user simply tells the AI what kind of presentation they want… and Tome does the rest.

First the AI outlines the presentation. Then it creates the content and the images. All in a matter of seconds.

That produces a first draft. Then users can prompt the AI to make edits or add additional slides.

We can see in this example that Tome is capable of producing an eight-page presentation just with a single sentence of input. That’s incredible. And of course, the AI can get even more nuanced if users provide it with more detailed information.

Given the utility, we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that Tome is now the fastest productivity tool to reach one million users in history. It only took 134 days to get there. That’s faster than Dropbox, Slack, and Zoom.

So the rate of adoption has been incredible.

The other thing I love about this tool is that it can stimulate creativity. Users can take the slides and images that the AI produces, and that could generate even more useful ideas.

It just makes perfect sense. Why would we do everything manually when a tool like this is available to us?

And that’s the kicker – Tome is in fact available to the public. It’s priced at just $10 a month. That makes it highly competitive with Microsoft’s Office Suite.

And for any professionals that consistently produce slide decks for our work, that $10 is a no-brainer. The countless hours we would save is more than worth the price.

What strikes me about this development is that it demonstrates just how quickly this technology is being commercialized.

Every day, we’re discovering new use cases for generative AI. This will be a decade-defining investment trend and it is already impacting select number of publicly traded companies that have been proactive in employing generative AI technology.

Microsoft is quickly moving generative AI out to mobile devices…

Speaking of generative AI…

Microsoft just made yet another big announcement regarding the deployment of OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

As a reminder, ChatGPT is a generative AI that can produce content and write software code upon demand. And it can have intelligent conversations with humans as well.

Microsoft invested billions of dollars into OpenAI specifically to gain the rights to deploy ChatGPT across its own suite of products.

That started a few weeks ago when Microsoft integrated ChatGPT into its Bing search engine. That effectively made ChatGPT accessible to consumers at the web browser level.

Microsoft just made its next big move to integrate ChatGPT into its mobile apps. This effectively puts ChatGPT out at the edge of networks on mobile devices.

Initially Skype will be the big beneficiary of this move. Now users will be able to bring ChatGPT into collaborative Skype chats. Here’s what that looks like:

ChatGPT is Coming to Skype

Source: Microsoft

Here we can see a group chat of eight participants including ChatGPT. Notice how Microsoft is using its Bing branding (to the right of the message bar) to represent the AI.

And notice how one of the participants asks ChatGPT a question and gets a detailed answer. In this case they are talking about tourist destinations… but the AI could assist with business-related tasks as well.

In addition, the AI can provide translation services in these chats. There could be eight different people on a chat, each with a different native language. But ChatGPT could translate everything, so all participants understand what’s being said.

An easy way to think of it is that this is like Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant, or Microsoft’s Cortana… on steroids.

To me, this appears to be something that will replace Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana entirely. In one fell swoop. And that goes for other digital assistants too like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa. These digital assistants just can’t compete with something as powerful as ChatGPT.

I continue to be impressed with how fast Microsoft is moving here.

The next step is to embed the AI into other software applications on the smartphone. That’s the end game. This is something we’ll talk more about soon.


Jeff Brown
Editor, The Bleeding Edge