- You won’t believe what Jeff Bezos just invested in…
- Does an artificial intelligence have rights?
- Amazon’s master plan for media supremacy…
Before we get to today’s insights, I want to remind readers about my upcoming confidential briefing. It’s happening tomorrow evening at 8:00 p.m. ET. Our topic tomorrow night will be the big news hidden within Apple’s latest launch.
While the media will fixate upon the glitz and glamor that surround all of Apple’s launches, my focus is much deeper. In fact, my research indicates that this launch will unlock a massive $12.3 trillion profit opportunity… for those who know where to look for it.
I can’t give away any additional details in these pages, but please tune in tomorrow night for the full scoop. Again, I’ll go live at 8:00 p.m. ET sharp tomorrow evening. Readers can register right here to reserve their spot.
Can technology reverse the aging process?
There is a hot new startup that has Silicon Valley buzzing right now. The newly formed company is called Altos Labs. And it just launched with an incredible $270 million Series A funding round. This values the company at nearly $1.4 billion.
So Altos Labs was basically born a unicorn. That’s unheard of. And it’s all thanks to the company’s primary backers – Jeff Bezos and Yuri Milner.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos needs no introduction. As for Milner, he is a Russian tech entrepreneur who made a fortune on a Russian company called Mail.ru in the early 2000s. It was basically Russia’s version of Yahoo. Then Milner made another fortune as an early investor in Facebook about a decade later.
Needless to say, both Bezos and Milner are billionaires, and they are the key backers of Altos Labs’ Series A round.
Naturally, that raises the question – why are these billionaires investing so heavily in this startup? And the answer is simple. Altos Labs is working on anti-aging technology. The goal is to extend human life.
Bezos and Milner both have way more money than they could ever spend… and they want to use some of it to buy more time. That’s what this is about.
And what’s interesting here is that, with its billionaire backers, Altos Labs doesn’t have to worry much about profits. All that matters is results.
For this reason, Altos Labs is hiring some of the most prominent scientists in the anti-aging space. The goal is to build an all-star team. The rumor is that Altos is paying some of these people salaries of more than $1 million per year to get them on board.
And so far the strategy is paying off…
The team at Altos Labs has made promising progress on reprogramming human cells in the laboratory. In fact, Altos has already demonstrated the ability to reverse the age of human cells by one-half.
They did this by extracting cells from an 80-year old. They then applied their anti-aging tech to those cells in a lab and measured the cellular age. The reading suggested that the cells had become the equivalent of forty years old. Amazing.
That said, it is way too early in the process to inject the reprogrammed cells back into the human body, or for that matter to apply a similar therapy in vivo (in the body). Further animal testing will be needed to optimize the approach for safety.
So this is absolutely a company we need to track going forward. With a seemingly endless amount of capital available to fund moonshot ideas, there’s a good chance we might see a breakthrough here.
There’s a lot of investment flowing into life-extension technology right now, and I believe we will see some incredible breakthroughs in the coming years.
What’s more, this anti-aging technology will be informed by advances in genetic editing and our understanding of how proteins fold as well. That’s largely thanks to DeepMind’s AlphaFold2. When we combine these things with the application of artificial intelligence (AI), we are bound to see something miraculous happen.
Simply put, this confluence of technologies will power anti-aging technology forward. The implications of that may be hard to quantify right now, but the investment potential is easy to envision. Let’s add Altos Labs to our early stage watchlist.
Will AIs be able to patent their own technology?
A very interesting court case caught my attention. We don’t usually talk about law here in The Bleeding Edge, but this case brings up some interesting questions.
A law professor at the University of Surrey named Ryan Abbott has spearheaded what he calls the Artificial Inventor Project. The purpose of the project is to file patents in the name of an AI in a bunch of countries around the world. The goal is to see how governments respond and to raise awareness around what will be a critical issue in the future.
Interestingly, countries around the world are taking very different approaches to the Artificial Inventor Project’s filings.
Both South Africa and Australia have determined that AIs can in fact be granted patents as inventors. But the U.S. isn’t on board with the idea.
In the case that piqued my interest, a federal judge recently stated that only individuals who take an oath claiming to be the rightful inventor of the application can be awarded patents. This rules out AI systems for two reasons.
For one, AI systems are not capable of taking oaths. They would need to be sentient to do that. Secondly, the legal definition of an individual in the U.S. is a “natural person.” Congress would have to change this definition before AIs could be eligible.
This raises all kinds of interesting questions…
AIs will likely become sentient beings in the not-so-distant future. That’s almost a certainty with how fast the tech is advancing.
At that point, AIs could indeed take the legal oath required to obtain a patent in the U.S.
And with other countries granting patents to AIs, there would be international precedent for the U.S. to do the same. That would require changing the definition of individuals to include sentient AI or removing the specific reference to a “natural person” in the definition.
What happens then?
If royalties are generated from the patent, where would the funds go? Does the AI maintain its own bank account to hold the money? Would anyone else have access to it? Would the AI even have a use for the money?
Even more interesting… If a sentient AI is determined to be an individual, can it also own property? Would an AI be subject to a country’s laws? Presumably so.
Does it deserve congressional representation? Can the AI vote? Would it have to pay taxes? As for that last question, I feel comfortable knowing that the answer would be yes.
These are deep questions that are worth thinking about. They aren’t urgent questions right now, but we will need some clear answers to them within the next decade or so. That makes Abbott’s work with the Artificial Inventor Project worth following.
Of course, this is just scratching the surface of the legal and ethical questions we’ll need to address to prepare for a world full of sentient AIs.
How we create, use, collaborate with, empower, and ultimately recognize AIs will be one of the most critical issues humanity faces over the next decade. Will it all end badly? Or will it be an incredible benefit for the world?
We don’t have enough information to answer those questions, but I am certain that we’re going to find out within the next 15 years. It will feel like it “happened” suddenly to most. But the reality is that these events in the AI space have been under development for two decades.
Amazon just took the next step to becoming a media empire…
Amazon just announced that it will launch its own television under the Amazon Basics brand. As we would expect, the TV will be powered by Amazon’s Fire TV platform. And it will be AI-enabled by Amazon’s Alexa. Here’s a visual:
Amazon Basics’ 4K Ultra HD Television
To me, this is a sign that televisions have become like commodities.
If we look at Amazon Basics products, they are all products that are used and eventually disposed of. And Amazon is highly competitive in this space because it has the scale to produce these products very cheaply.
Up until this point, we wouldn’t think of TVs as disposable commodities. But they have become so cheap, and the television brand has become so much less relevant, that TVs have become a lot more like other consumer electronics. Buy one, use it for a few years, and then upgrade to a newer model.
So it makes sense that Amazon is going to start selling its own televisions. And what’s most interesting here is that this sets Amazon up to become even more of a media giant. In fact, this feels like a play out of Apple’s playbook.
If we remember, it was long rumored that Apple TV would be a physical television. But it turns out Apple never went that route. It didn’t feel that it would be able to control the entire user experience as so much of TV is still delivered via CATV services. Instead, Apple developed the Apple TV box as its media device to deliver its own streaming services to any TV.
However, there’s a challenge there. Consumers need to go out of their way to purchase and install Apple TV. It’s an add-on that adds friction to the process.
By producing its own television and prominently placing it on its own website, Amazon will have its Fire TV platform, Amazon Prime Video, and Alexa automatically installed and integrated with the TV. Amazon’s customers will be compelled to buy the new TVs and use these services because they will be so convenient.
It’s very much like the Microsoft model. In the early days, Microsoft had Windows pre-installed on most PCs so that it became the default operating system for consumers. Convenience often wins.
So this is a very logical move for Amazon, and it further strengthens our investment thesis in the company. We are currently up about 89% on AMZN in The Near Future Report, and Amazon is well on its way to becoming a $2 trillion company.
Editor, The Bleeding Edge
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