- There’s no denying it: Quantum supremacy is here
- Waymo’s master plan revealed
- Did you know this streaming giant was also an AI innovator?
The tension between technology – specifically, social media – and the world of politics is heating up again. With the next U.S. presidential election just about a year away, it’s no surprise there is such a fervor around bias, misinformation, fake accounts, disinformation, and nation-state manipulation.
Yet a recent study from Pew Research caught my eye with numbers that tell a different story.
Social media platform Twitter, which has about 145 million daily active users, is one of the key platforms for political discussion. Some would even argue that President Trump, with 66.4 million followers, has given Twitter new life…
As it turns out, only 13% of those who “Tweet” (post messages on Twitter) care about national politics. In reality, 87% are using Twitter for other areas of interest and ignore the political discourse. What’s more, 97% of all political tweets are being produced by only 2.2% of the U.S. population.
Perhaps policy makers are giving too much credit to social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook for influencing outcomes.
Now to our insights…
Why IBM is dead wrong about quantum supremacy…
IBM just challenged Google on its quantum supremacy claim. For new readers, here’s the backstory…
Last month, research on Google’s 53-qubit quantum computer leaked out. The research indicated that Google’s quantum computer, Sycamore, was able to perform an extremely complex calculation in a mere 200 seconds. According to the paper, that same calculation would take the world’s most powerful supercomputer, Summit, 10,000 years to complete.
It was a historic event of immense importance. Twenty years from now, we’ll look back and remember that turning point… when “it” happened… We’re now at the point at which a quantum computer can outperform the most powerful supercomputer on Earth.
This paper was first posted on an obscure technical server at NASA. Then it was suddenly taken down hours later. As to who posted it and who pulled it, we don’t know.
But days ago, the formal research paper was published in the scientific journal Nature. It confirms the details that originally leaked out.
Well, IBM just came out and basically said the paper is nonsense. IBM said it wouldn’t take 10,000 years for Summit to do the referenced calculation… It would only take 2.5 days. IBM did not provide proof of this statement, but it was very adamant.
Now, we should ask ourselves the question… Who built Summit? That’s right – IBM.
So IBM has a vested interest in saying Google’s claim is bunk. But nothing could be further from the truth…
In fact, it does not matter whether it takes Summit 2.5 days… 10 years… or 10,000 years to do the calculation. The fact is, Google’s quantum computer did it in a matter of seconds. That’s exponentially faster. It also demonstrates quantum supremacy.
Worth mentioning is the difference in scale between the two computing systems, Sycamore and Summit. Google’s quantum computer is about the size of a refrigerator with a few other racks of equipment attached to it. Summit, on the other hand, is the size of a warehouse. It’s massive. Row upon row of servers are designed to tackle the most complex, multivariable calculations on the planet.
And Summit just got its hat handed to it by Sycamore. So let’s not let IBM’s chest-beating fool us. Quantum supremacy is here. The impact will be profound. And it will enable the world to solve problems that we have never been able to solve before.
Following Waymo’s breadcrumbs…
A few weeks ago we talked about how Waymo was going to launch a self-driving taxi service in Phoenix, Arizona. Well, the service is now live…
Waymo is offering what it calls “rider-only” trips in Phoenix. These are fully autonomous taxi rides. There are no safety drivers in the self-driving vehicles.
Waymo does have a team of live operators that monitors all rides, however. These are people at computers in a remote location, ready to take over control of a car if they need to.
Right now, a few hundred people have signed up for Waymo’s self-driving taxi service. And they have all signed nondisclosure agreements (NDA) with Waymo in exchange for early access to the service. I certainly would have been one of them if I were living in Phoenix.
(If there are any Bleeding Edge readers in Phoenix that are using the service, we’d love to hear from you about your experience here.)
This is exciting news. But what’s interesting is the trail of breadcrumbs Waymo is leaving behind…
Waymo’s CEO just said that it is now testing its self-driving technology in Peterbilt trucks. Peterbilt makes a lot of the semitrucks you see rolling down the highway.
The goal is for Waymo to expand into trucking and delivery applications. And it is testing these self-driving trucks in Arizona, Georgia, and Michigan.
So Waymo isn’t solely focused on its self-driving taxi business. And it continues to play everything close to the vest.
Now, contrast this to what Tesla is doing. We wrote about Tesla’s exponential safety improvements yesterday… And that’s across all its vehicles. Tesla isn’t testing in one or two markets. It deployed its self-driving technology to all Tesla’s on the road… anywhere.
What we are seeing is that Waymo’s goal is not to build a fleet of self-driving cars. Its end goal isn’t even the self-driving taxi service.
Waymo is simply using these programs to refine its technology. From there, it plans to license or sell the technology to automakers – and, now we know, the trucking industry.
That’s why the company is maintaining such tight controls on everything. That’s why it has remote overseers monitoring rides. And that’s why it required users to sign an NDA. Waymo wants to cut deals with the big players in the auto and trucking space.
But of course, there is even a much bigger strategy at hand…
Remember, Waymo is a subsidiary of Google. And Google’s ultimate goal is full-scale data surveillance. It is trying to capture even more behavioral data throughout the day, including our time in our cars.
Right now, Google has limited access to people when they are in the car. This is something we talked about back in May. It wants to change that.
Google knows if it can get its self-driving tech deployed, it will then have the ability to serve ads to passengers in the car. And it will be able to capture a wealth of behavioral data that it can’t get on consumers right now.
That’s what this is really about. Waymo is just a mask for Google’s core advertising and data surveillance business. This is, in fact, the same strategy Google used when developing its Android OS software for smartphones. It essentially controlled the development, gave the Android software away for free, and was a Trojan horse for surveillance. We should think twice as to whether or not we want to buy, or use, a car that is running on Google’s automotive operating system in the future…
Netflix is accelerating AI development…
Netflix just released its artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) software called Polynote. And it made it open source and free for anybody to use.
For background, Netflix developed this AI/ML software over the past decade for use in its own business.
The software helps deal with the complexities of different software programming languages. And it facilitates consumer personalization. It determines what content Netflix users might like to see next.
For those of us who use Netflix, we have all seen the “Recommended for you” suggestions. Those are based on what the AI believes our likes and preferences to be. It’s designed to create “stickiness,” so consumers keep coming back for more.
So Netflix is opening up its AI/ML software to the world. This is a popular trend in the industry.
And that’s because expanded use will accelerate further development. As other companies adopt the software, their data scientists and AI engineers will make improvements. Netflix can then adopt those improvements if it chooses to.
So going open source is a way to access the talent of employees at other companies. And it’s also a great way for Netflix to attract talent to its own company.
And, of course, it’s not just Netflix that benefits from this. By open-sourcing its AI software, Netflix is helping to accelerate the development of AI/ML across all industries.
This is a powerful tool that is now available to anyone. And companies with their own AI software can compare what they have to what Netflix has. Such cross-pollination of ideas often leads to massive breakthroughs.
The proliferation of AI is already having a profound impact on the economy as well as society as a whole. And as I have said before, I believe AI represents one of the best investment opportunities of a generation… and perhaps even our lifetimes.
As large corporations like Facebook, Google, and Netflix release open-source AI/ML technology to the world, it is only going to accelerate technological development.
Editor, The Bleeding Edge
P.S. AI isn’t the only technology driving massive investment opportunity today. As regular readers know, the 5G boom is providing once-in-a-generation investment opportunities right now. Here’s one reason why…
Once 5G networks are live, every smartphone on earth – all three billion of them – won’t work over these networks. This represents the largest smartphone replacement cycle in history. And I’ve identified the one company that produces an essential component for the new generation of 5G phones. That’s why I called this company my “No. 1 tech stock of 2019.” Get the full story right here.