• Can hackers rent quantum computing power?
  • The biggest challenge humanity will face this decade
  • How to be a successful technology investor

Dear Reader,

Welcome to our weekly mailbag edition of The Bleeding Edge. All week, you submitted your questions about the biggest trends in technology. Today, I’ll do my best to answer them.

If you have a question you’d like answered, be sure you submit it right here.

This will be our last regular issue of The Bleeding Edge for 2019. We’ll have some special 2020 predictions coming out before the year ends, though… so make sure to stay tuned.

I want to send out a sincere thank you for reading and spending your time with us this year. It is a lot of fun producing The Bleeding Edge, and we very much appreciate all the great feedback we have received.

If you haven’t figured it out already, we’re in for even more excitement in 2020 in the world of high tech. As much as I love the holidays, I can’t wait for things to get into high gear next year. So much to look forward to…

The danger of renting quantum computing?

First up, a reader has a question around quantum computing…

Jeff, you recently said that Amazon is going to make quantum computing available to anyone who wants to buy time. Does that mean that any old hacker could buy time and unlock (and unleash) all my passwords, web browsing, or whatever if he had the right software to do it? That seems like a pretty scary scenario to me.

– James A.

Thanks for writing in, James. As a refresher, last week I showed that Amazon is launching a cloud-based quantum computing service through its Amazon Web Services business. What this means is that customers will be able to “rent” quantum computing services and experiment with the technology.

Specifically, Amazon will offer a “quantum annealing” technology through a company called D-Wave. Amazon also has a computer from IonQ, which uses a trapped ion approach to quantum computing.

It also is providing quantum computing power provided by Rigetti, another prominent quantum computer company, which has developed a superconducting quantum computer. If readers would like a more detailed explanation for those technologies, feel free to catch up here.

But for now, just know that Amazon has already created a marketplace for quantum computing services. The company is democratizing access to one of the most powerful technologies on the planet.

But to be clear, that doesn’t mean Amazon is just handing over the power of quantum computing to any person and giving them free rein. As we’ve discussed in the past, quantum computing has the potential to solve some of the world’s toughest problems. But it also could be used for nefarious purposes, like hacking military-grade encryption.

That’s why Amazon’s quantum services are reserved for developers, researchers, and scientists. And Amazon has oversight on the algorithms customers create and verifies what they will be used for.

But it’s not just Amazon that has made the technology available in the cloud. Both D-Wave and Rigetti have also established cloud-based quantum computing services. It is incredible how quickly this has happened… just in a matter of months.

Fortunately, the right incentives are in place for these companies to verify those wanting to use quantum computing resources, monitor their usage, and ensure that those resources are being used for productive and ethical purposes.

I’m not suggesting that the perfect framework is in place yet. It’s not. After all, these developments just occurred in the last six months. But I can say that the power and potential misuse of quantum computing resources are well known.

And the rapid progress by China and the recent announcement by Russia that it will invest around $790 million to develop a functional quantum computer and catch up to the U.S. are not going unnoticed.

In many ways, this is an incentive for the Western world to put strong controls in place to ensure these incredible resources are put only to good use.

Technology can solve the world’s biggest challenges…

Next up, a reader writes in with his thoughts on how technology can help make the world a better place.

Although I find the prospect of accelerating technological development disconcerting, I am, at the same time, not so freaked out now when I read doom and gloom stories about things like superbugs. As you point out, there will be technologies – like CRISPR – to deal with them. Thanks again for the work that you and your team do and keep up the good work.

– David B.

Thanks for writing in, David. I’m always happy to hear from subscribers who are enjoying the research I publish.

And yes, I agree with you. Technology has the potential to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges. Superbugs are a great example. These are bacteria that are resistant to traditional antibiotics.

According to the World Health Organization, 700,000 people die each year because of superbugs. And if this problem goes uncorrected, superbugs could kill 10 million people every year by 2050.

Fortunately, there is promising research that shows CRISPR genetic editing technology can kill these superbugs. Remember, CRISPR is the technology that can edit our genetic code as if it were software.

And the way CRISPR could stop superbugs is by using programmed enzymes to target the bacteria. Then CRISPR would “slice” the bacteria DNA until it dies.

So this is a great application for this technology and another reason why I am so bullish on CRISPR.

But you also bring up another good point, David. The pace of technological advancement is accelerating. The world 10 years from now will be almost unrecognizable from the world today. Yes, the food we eat will largely be the same, and kids will go to school, and so on.

But the way many tasks get done will be different. Artificial intelligence combined with robotics and automation will remove a major burden from our daily lives. It will result in more time to pursue higher-value complex tasks as well as other areas of interest.

It will also result in the daily cost of living dropping (for necessities)… contrary to what many would have us believe.

One of the greatest challenges over the next decade will be for humanity to cope with these profound changes and ensure that powerful technology isn’t used for evil purposes.

Our mindsets concerning work will need to become flexible. We’ll need to be learning new tasks and skills every few years. Society’s willingness to accept the need for this shift toward regular education, even for adults, will be critical for society’s successful evolution.

This was one of the topics I covered when I was a guest on “The Glenn Beck Podcast” last month. For more on this idea, I encourage all readers to watch the full episode right here.

Building a basket of high-quality technology stocks…

Let’s conclude with a common question I get from readers of my paid research services. I think it will be informative for anybody who follows my research for their own investing…

Hello, Jeff, I’m a comparatively recent member of Exponential Tech Investor and am pleased with what I am learning and for you and your wisdom. This is my question. Is there a way to maybe rank, order, or prioritize which stocks you most highly recommend if someone like me has limited cash to invest? It would be helpful if it is possible. Thank you for all you do for us.

– Kenneth A.

Thanks for writing in, Kenneth. And thank you for being a subscriber to Exponential Tech Investor. I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying the service.

What stocks investors choose to invest in is a very personal decision. As a publisher, I provide unbiased research to help inform better investment decisions. And I am unable to provide any personalized investment advice.

In general, I strongly recommend that investors build holdings in the model portfolio of any of my research services. I put a lot of time and energy building a balanced portfolio full of strong companies with great growth potential.

While I may have my own projections about which companies have the greatest return potential, each stock evolves over a different time frame.

I do not recommend trying to pick and choose individual stocks from the portfolio. An easy mistake to make is investing too much in one individual stock, hoping it runs up. This rarely works the way we might hope.

So for Exponential Tech Investor, The Near Future Report, and Early Stage Trader, my recommendation is to build a full basket of the portfolio companies, each with roughly the same amount of money invested in each company.

This year, the Exponential Tech Investor model portfolio will nearly double the performance of the Nasdaq. It is hard to overstate what an accomplishment that is. Some of the best hedge funds in the world only beat the market by a few points. The key point is that investors can’t consistently achieve that kind of performance without having exposure to all of the recommended stocks.

The important thing to remember is that it doesn’t matter how many shares in a company you buy. What matters is the total amount invested. If we invest $1,000 in a stock trading at $10, and we also invest $1,000 in a stock trading at $100, and both return 100%, our gains – in dollar terms – will be precisely the same.

One piece of advice I will give is to make sure investors read our monthly portfolio updates at the bottom of our regular issues. I always highlight companies that are great buys or that new investors should be sure to establish a position in. I hope that helps.

That’s all the time we have this week. Remember, if you’d like me to answer your question during our next mailbag edition, write to me here.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday.


Jeff Brown
Editor, The Bleeding Edge

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