Van’s Note: Van Bryan here, Jeff Brown’s longtime managing editor. At the end of every year, I sit down with Jeff to discuss his biggest predictions for the coming year. Remember, you can always catch up on earlier editions in this series by going here.
Today, I sat down with Jeff to get his predictions for artificial intelligence in 2022. Read on to discover why AI is now a “must-have” for business and how the technology will address the “Great Resignation.”
Van Bryan (VB): Jeff, today I’d like to discuss what you see coming for artificial intelligence. But we should first check in on your prediction from last year. You predicted that AlphaFold would be 98% accurate. Before we find out if you were correct, can you unpack that prediction for us?
Jeff Brown (JB): AlphaFold is a software from DeepMind, Google’s artificial intelligence subsidiary. This software is designed to accurately predict the folding of a protein-based solely on its amino acid sequence.
Now, if that sounds a little technical, don’t worry. What’s important to know is that protein folding determines if a pharmaceutical will be able to bind to a protein and be effective.
In essence, we have to know how these proteins fold if we want the drug to work. And historically, this has been a trial-and-error process. But AlphaFold was designed to predict this protein folding. That makes it much easier to create drugs that will do what they are designed to do.
When you and I spoke last year, AlphaFold was 92.4% accurate. And I predicted it would be 98% accurate by the end of 2021.
VB: And how did that prediction turn out?
JB: In July of this year, the software was shown to be 95% accurate. So it wasn’t quite 98%, but it was pretty darn close. And what’s interesting is that AlphaFold had evolved into AlphaFold 2, and that’s what generated such incredibly high accuracy when it comes to predicting protein folding.
So while I wasn’t exactly spot on, I’d like to think I got pretty close.
VB: I think we could give it to you.
JB: [Laughs] Thanks… But this was one of those grand challenges in the life sciences space. It was remarkable. And when I look towards 2022, I’m keeping a close eye on DeepMind’s new sister company, Isomorphic Labs. Isomorphic is an AI-powered computational biology company. It will focus on using AI for new drug development.
Isomorphic Labs will be headed up by the CEO of DeepMind, Dennis Hassabis. And I believe Isomorphic will leverage the work already done by DeepMind and will be very mission-driven.
And I’ll make a prediction along these lines. I believe the company will make a breakthrough along the lines of how drugs interact with proteins. In other words, Isomorphic will make a breakthrough and discover a drug candidate that will be the least toxic and have the highest levels of efficacy.
As my longtime readers know, this is a technology trend I refer to as “The Convergence.”
VB: As a reminder, could you tell us what you mean by “The Convergence”?
JB: The convergence is the intersection of artificial intelligence and drug discovery.
When most of us think of discovering new drugs, we probably imagine scientists in white lab coats peering through microscopes and fiddling with beakers. And if we were talking even just five years ago, that wouldn’t be far off.
But today? The process of drug discovery is now leveraging big data and artificial intelligence to find new pharmaceutical candidates. This is important because drug discovery has historically been an expensive and time-consuming process. Most people don’t know this. But it costs roughly $2.6 billion to develop a drug therapy from the discovery stage all the way through FDA approval.
That’s extraordinary, especially when we consider that more than 90% of all drug candidates fail and are never approved.
The convergence has the potential to change that. That’s because artificial intelligence can be “unleashed” on the process of drug discovery. A well-designed artificial intelligence platform can evaluate billions of different molecules over weeks or even days.
This is such a commonsense approach to me. It will speed up the process of drug discovery exponentially. The process will become cheaper and more efficient. We will all benefit. And of course, companies powering this trend stand to profit immensely.
[Van’s note: To learn the name of Jeff’s #1 “Convergence” stock to buy now, go right here.]
VB: That’s great, Jeff. I’d like to switch gears now and ask what other AI developments you saw in 2021 and what you see happening in 2022.
JB: Some of the biggest breakthroughs we saw this year had to do with natural language processing (NLP). At a very high level, NLP is the technology that allows an AI to “understand” what we are saying to it and take specific action as a result. Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri assistant are good examples of this.
What really caught my eye is OpenAI’s GPT-3. GPT-3 is an artificial intelligence that is so good at understanding us that it can even create its own natural language as a response.
GPT-3 can do some incredible things. It can complete our sentences when we type. It can type technical manuals or short stories based on our input. In 2021, Microsoft managed to get an exclusive license to the software’s source code. And for 2022, I predict we’re going to begin to see this technology spring up in our daily lives.
VB: Where do you think we’ll notice this technology first?
JB: We’ll see it first in fast-moving consumer goods, or FCMG. For example, we’ll see restaurants where consumers will not give their orders to humans, but they will simply place their orders with artificial intelligence. I think this technology will quickly be adopted in fast-food drive-throughs and counters. We can already see the clues.
In 2019, McDonald’s acquired the artificial intelligence company Apprente for exactly this reason. And 2022 will be the year many of us will begin to see this technology in the field.
And this is driven not only because of the advancements in artificial intelligence but out of sheer necessity because of the ongoing labor shortage.
VB: Some have referred to the labor shortage as a “Great Resignation,” with employees leaving at record levels. Do you believe artificial intelligence will address that?
JB: I do. And it’s interesting because for years people were worried that artificial intelligence would “steal our jobs.” But now, so many people don’t want many of these jobs.
I expect that the employment of other forms of artificial intelligence, like machine learning and computer vision, combined with robotics, will see a faster uptake than has ever been seen in history. And again, this is out of sheer necessity.
Distribution and logistics facilities are going to be relying on robotic arms, for example. Robots will help take over the responsibility of picking and sorting products, and even packaging, to remove some of the burdens from human labor.
Technology regularly disrupts the nature of work. But what always happens is that new technology actually raises our quality of living while creating new jobs that humans are better suited for.
I wrote about this idea in a recent issue of Exponential Tech Investor. I told the story of “Innovator Zero,” the person credited with designing the first automated weaving loom.
This was in the 1600s. And at the time, there was a lot of resistance from the weaver’s guilds. After all, a weaving loom would make manual weaving totally obsolete.
But once society got a taste of the superior, cheaper clothing from this invention, there was no stopping it. Would any of us really want to go back to manually weaving our clothes today?
We’re at a similar inflection point with artificial intelligence. From here on out, any companies that aren’t adopting – or planning to adopt – artificial intelligence are at a strategic disadvantage. And for companies that refuse to adopt this technology, it will eventually represent an extinction-level event.
Our world is going to change because of the proliferation of artificial intelligence. And for technology investors, it’s going to be an exciting time.
VB: Thanks for your time, Jeff.
P.S. Be sure you check your inbox tomorrow for our next edition of Jeff Brown’s 2022 Prediction Series.
I’m going to ask Jeff about the “Future of Transportation.” We’ll discuss Tesla’s “Robo-taxi” ambitions, what Google is really up to with their self-driving Waymo cars, and Jeff will explain why Apple’s entrance into the electric vehicle space is inevitable. You won’t want to miss it.
And as Jeff shared today, the world is gearing up to adopt artificial intelligence like never before. Is your portfolio positioned for the “AI Revolution”? To find out how you can learn the name of Jeff’s #1 AI stock to buy right now, go here.
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