- This AI is out in the wild now
- How can a company keep up with inflation? Buy bitcoin…
- Say hello to “Flippy,” the new grill master robot
Some pretty incredible research out of Yale University titled “COVID-19 Transmission in U.S. Child Care Programs” caught my attention this weekend.
Even though I was putting the final touches on this month’s issue of Exponential Tech Investor, which is an issue I’m really excited about, I still made time to read the article. It was just published in Pediatrics, which is the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The study was the largest of its kind and included data from 57,335 child-care providers. Needless to say, this is a vital part of the economy.
After all, if day care centers aren’t open, then most parents have difficulty working. The economic toll of closing these businesses has already been devastating.
The objective of the research was simple: figure out whether children are efficient transmitters of COVID-19. We already know that school-age children are far more at risk of a severe illness from influenza than they are from COVID-19. So why have schools been shut down?
Those who want more lockdowns and school closures have contended that children will spread COVID-19 to teachers and get them and their families sick.
This is why Yale’s research is so important. And the results will probably surprise many of us.
In short, the conclusion was that “exposure to child care during the early months of the U.S. pandemic was not associated with elevated risk for COVID-19 transmission to providers.” No association was found between exposure to child care and the contraction of COVID-19 by an adult.
It is also worth mentioning that only 11.8% of children greater than two years old wore masks on a daily basis, and only 35.2% of all adults providing care wore masks daily. In other words, the absence of masks didn’t cause community spread.
One of the lead researchers, Dr. Walter S. Gilliam, stated, “It is true that many child-care providers did get sick. Many of them even went to hospitals. But it was not the contact with children in child care that seems to be the source of that infection.”
This study is consistent with the results from recent research out of Spain that I shared weeks ago, which also showed that children were very poor at spreading COVID-19.
In light of so much consistent research on this topic, there simply isn’t an argument any longer to keep schools closed and rob children of their development, health, happiness, and education. The fear of “community spread” to teachers is not based on evidence of any kind.
Parents who, for whatever reason, aren’t comfortable sending their children to school can either continue with remote learning or migrate to homeschooling.
And the rest of society can be empowered by the facts, reopen the schools, and return to normal.
As logical, rational adults, I hope that we can get back the normal lives that our children had pre-pandemic as quickly as possible, before these irrational actions have a lasting, negative impact on their bright futures.
Now let’s turn to today’s insights…
GPT-3 just fooled millions of people…
We have talked about GPT-3 several times in The Bleeding Edge.
For the benefit of new readers, GPT-3 is the artificial intelligence (AI) created by OpenAI and trained to understand and use language in a way similar to how we do.
When we last talked about GPT-3, Microsoft had just extracted an exclusive license deal for the technology. That was a sad day because it effectively took GPT-3 off the market for other companies.
However, GPT-3 is still out there in the wild. And it was most recently spotted on the popular social media bulletin board Reddit.
For those that don’t know, Reddit is one of the most popular social media sites in the technology and media community. It isn’t fancy, as it is fashioned off of the old online bulletin boards from 30 years ago. Ironically, it is incredibly popular.
Someone deployed GPT-3 on a popular subreddit board consisting of 30 million users, each interacting with each other through the forum. GPT-3 was instructed to engage with people by posting on the bulletin board once per minute. So it did.
This went on for an entire week. And people were interacting with GPT-3 and its posts without realizing it was an AI. They talked to GPT-3 as if it were human. And it talked back.
This is mind-blowing. The fact that GPT-3 can “hang out” on a tech-savvy site, interacting with potentially millions of people is remarkable.
And this is an indication of how far AI technology has progressed in the last 12 months or so. It is far from perfect, but it is still incredible nonetheless.
The early AIs trained on natural language processing were not nearly this coherent. Clearly, GPT-3 can carry on conversations for days without anyone realizing it’s not a human.
Of course, this is scary in some ways. AIs able to act like humans online can be used for both good and bad purposes. It’s easy to see how a bad actor could create a lot of confusion and cause a lot of damage with the technology.
This specific issue will be one of the most challenging ethical issues that the world will have to deal with this decade. How will we choose to manage, control, verify, identify, and potentially regulate the use of artificial intelligence?
Square’s big bet on Bitcoin…
Most people know Square as the leading payment processor for small- and medium-sized businesses. Square provides wireless credit card terminals for shops and local businesses to take payments. They are simple and easy to use. Square has built a great business around these terminals.
Square also utilizes bleeding-edge AI to help its customers run their business operations, manage inventory, and even assess creditworthiness for small business loans. Thanks to its AI, Square can underwrite a small business loan in seconds.
And, of course, Square has very quietly developed the Cash App, which is an elegant one-stop-shop for financial services.
The Cash App allows users to send money to each other seamlessly. It provides a platform for users to buy stocks. It makes buying bitcoin as simple as pressing a button. And users can even elect to have their paychecks deposited into the Cash App – no bank account necessary.
Thanks to these innovative services, Square has been a remarkably successful company, and I would argue that its best days are ahead of it.
And one of the challenges a successful corporation has is how to manage the cash on its books. If the cash just sits in the bank, inflation is going to eat away at its purchasing power over time. So how does a corporation protect its cash without putting it at risk?
Historically, the answer has been short-term U.S. Treasury bills.
Treasury bills are considered “cash equivalents” because they are debt obligations of the U.S. government. And they pay a little bit of interest, which helps keep up with inflation.
Between January 2018 and February 2020, six-month Treasury bills paid between 1.5% and 2.5% in interest. That’s not world-beating, but it was enough to mostly keep up with inflation during those years.
However, six-month Treasurys now pay 0.12%. That’s pretty much nothing.
And it’s been this way since March. Six-month Treasurys have yielded 0.04% to 0.27% from March through today. There’s simply no way that will keep up with inflation. So how does a corporation protect its cash in this environment?
Square’s answer was to move 1% of its assets into bitcoin. That’s right. Square just bought about $50 million worth of bitcoin, effectively moving 1% of its funds into the cryptocurrency.
This is an unusual move for a company to take. After all, it isn’t an investment firm looking to diversify its assets; it is a technology company.
Square believes the financial upside for that 1% will help the company’s cash keep up with inflation.
And Square thinks that other companies will follow suit. In fact, it wrote a how-to guide that shows corporations how to acquire and custody a large block of bitcoin.
Square wasn’t the first company to do this. Business Intelligence firm MicroStrategy recently put about $425 million into bitcoin for the exact same reason. MicroStrategy said that bitcoin was a superior store of value.
Corporate allocations to bitcoin as an alternative to 100% T-bills is starting to gain some attention. I suspect it won’t take long for the next company to do this.
And of course, this is very bullish for bitcoin going forward.
The first affordable burger-flipping robot is here…
A company called Miso Robotics just introduced the world to a robot on a rail (ROAR) called Flippy.
ROAR is an interesting approach to robotic mobility. A rail is installed in the robot’s workspace. For Flippy, that’s the kitchen area above the grills. Once installed, the robot can glide side to side on the rail so that it can work several workstations at one time.
Here’s Flippy in action:
Flippy, the Kitchen Robot
Source: Robotics and Automation News
As we can see, Flippy could be a viable asset to any kitchen. It can handle the tedious task of standing by the grill all day, freeing up the rest of the kitchen staff to perform higher functions.
And best of all – Flippy is affordable.
Miso Robotics is pricing Flippy at just $30,000, and it’s already planning to bring the price down to $20,000 over the next year.
And for those restaurants that can’t afford to shell out $20,000 up front, Miso will provide the robot and ongoing maintenance for close to $2,000 per month. That makes Flippy accessible to most restaurants in the developed world.
To me, this is an indication that robotics and AI are rapidly becoming a part of our everyday lives. The technology has become both functional and affordable.
We’re also starting to see these kinds of subscription-based services – let’s call them RaaS (robotics as a service) – as a way to accelerate adoption into the marketplace. And that means we are going to see a proliferation of robots like Flippy coming to our businesses and our homes.
And we’re also going to see an explosion in new jobs that will be required to service and maintain those robotic installations.
Editor, The Bleeding Edge
P.S. We are at the very beginning of the next major exponential growth story. And like the technology trends of the past, this investment trend will produce incredible returns in the years ahead. Only this time, I predict it will play out over months and years, not decades.
And that means life-changing gains are on the table.
For readers who believe like I do in the transformative power of bleeding-edge technology, please join me this Wednesday, October 21, at 8 p.m. ET for a special investment summit. We’re calling it “Beyond Exponential.”
On that evening, I’ll reveal the most important growth story of the 2020s. In short, it’s a convergence of several bleeding-edge technology trends that is reshaping society right before our eyes. And the COVID-19 pandemic has only kicked this trend into high gear.
This is a story so big, I believe savvy investors can build a million-dollar tech stock portfolio from scratch today with just a handful of investments. These are the publicly traded stocks I would focus on in my own portfolio.
So save the date – October 21. We’ll kick off at 8 p.m. ET sharp. I hope to see you there.
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