• This AI just became a “grand master”
  • How AI will keep us more secure in public
  • Pay close attention to this Silicon Valley CEO’s latest investment…

Dear Reader,

Before we get to today’s insights, I wanted to share something readers will find interesting.

In 1982, Ridley Scott produced one of the greatest science fiction movies of all time… Blade Runner. It seems like such a long time ago, but Blade Runner is still a classic. And guess what time period it was based on: November 2019.

Many don’t know this, but Blade Runner was adapted from another piece of great science fiction, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip Dick, written in 1968.

For those who haven’t seen the film or read the book, the future wasn’t very bright. Blade Runner was a vision of a dystopian future. It was full of overpopulated cities, a destroyed environment with acid rain, and skies full of flying taxis.

The most interesting development was “replicants,” genetically engineered, synthetic humans with superhuman skills. Replicants were designed by the all-powerful Tyrell Corporation to work on off-world colonies. Several of these replicants escaped and went to Earth, where they were hunted down. What a great plot…

I’m happy to say that none of this dystopian future has come to pass. 

The world didn’t make as much progress on flying taxis and replicants as Dick and Scott forecast. But we do have some early prototypes of flying cars. And the developments with CRISPR genetic editing technology are the building blocks of being able to program life.

It’s fun to think about the world we’ll see in another 37 years. But here’s the thing: We won’t have to wait that long before things get interesting…. 

In the next 10 to 15 years, we’re going to see far more technological advancement than we did in the 50-plus years since Dick’s original novel. 

Prepare for ubiquitous clean energy, the cure to all genetically caused human diseases, self-driving vehicles, commercial space flight, and holographic telepresence. Plus, every person on the planet will have an AI-powered digital assistant.

And as a reader of The Bleeding Edge, you’ll stay up on the progress of these revolutionary technologies and the investing opportunities that come with them.

After all, for those of us who can “see” the future, it’s easy to understand why there is no better place to invest in than high tech.

Now let’s turn to our insights…

DeepMind strikes again…

Google’s AI division DeepMind just published research about its latest development called AlphaStar. Deep Mind trained AlphaStar to compete in a massive multiplayer game called StarCraft II… and the AI achieved “grand master” status. It can beat 99.8% of all human players in competition.

It may sound silly to use an AI to play a computer game, but this AI research is significant. In fact, the research was published in Nature, which is one of the most prominent scientific journals in the world.

And the reason this is significant is because there are 1026 possible choices for every move in the game. It is incredibly complex. The fact that AlphaStar has performed so well is a testament to how far we’ve come with AI.

What’s more, DeepMind intentionally made it more difficult for AlphaStar to compete in StarCraft II. It restricted the AI’s view and limited the number of mouse clicks it could execute to make it on par with human players.

In other words, it restricted the AI in a way that matched a human’s ability. Yet the AI still became a grand master.

What challenge will DeepMind take on next? I have a few ideas…

We know the division of Google has been doing a lot of work in the medical space. And as we’ve covered in these pages, AI is rapidly transforming the medical field. Imagine what could be accomplished if DeepMind’s AI was “unleashed” on the world’s toughest medical mysteries….

This AI could crack the code of DNA and figure out exactly what parts of our DNA cause all human conditions. Understanding how the human genome is linked to a phenotype would open the door for an explosion in genetic therapies.

Our life is about to get a lot better thanks to AI like AlphaStar…

The AI that measures your heart rate just by looking at you…

The Chinese Academy of Sciences just developed an AI called RhythmNet. It’s an AI that can determine a person’s heart rate just by analyzing their face.

It trained this AI on something called photoplethysmography (PPG). It’s an optical technique that detects blood volume changes in skin tissue on the face. With machine learning, the AI learned how to read these blood volume changes even when a person is moving or in poor lighting.

And what’s amazing is that RhythmNet can get within 5% of a person’s actual heart rate. That’s just by reading the face. It’s incredibly accurate.

We might be thinking, What’s the point of this? Is it practical? What can we use it for?

Well, if we think about public areas with heightened security, this technology could identify someone who is about to do something nefarious. Here’s what I mean…

Normal people going about their lives don’t typically have an elevated heart rate when they are out in public. But people who are about to commit a terrorist act probably do. RhythmNet could spot potential bad actors and direct additional security monitoring to them in real time.

Imagine being able to spot bad actors in public places like airports or train stations before they potentially hurt any innocent bystanders.

As another example, the technology could be used during an interrogation to determine if the suspect is lying or not. There are numerous real-world applications to this seemingly niche technology.

Jack Dorsey just invested in a new digital asset platform…

Most people know Jack Dorsey as the CEO of Twitter. But he is also the CEO of Square, which is one of my favorite large-cap fintech companies.

Dorsey has been a vocal supporter of Bitcoin and decentralized digital assets… And he just put his money where his mouth is. Dorsey invested in cryptocurrency company CoinList’s Series A venture capital round.

CoinList raised $10 million in this VC round. And that will go toward developing a new digital asset exchange where people can buy and sell digital assets like bitcoin. CoinList will compete with the other top exchanges in the U.S. such as Kraken and Coinbase.

This investment gives us some insight into Dorsey’s ambitions…

Earlier this year, he launched a special blockchain development team at Square that reports directly to him. That initiative, paired with this investment, makes it clear that the company is building the infrastructure for sending, receiving, and storing digital assets.

So I’m not surprised at all by Dorsey’s investment.

What is interesting here is that Dorsey made this investment himself. It wasn’t done through Square. That suggests that he was concerned about the extra regulatory attention that this investment may have brought to the company.

After all, the Securities and Exchange Commission has been cracking down on ICOs (initial coin offerings) in the U.S., even when the ICO was conducted in compliance with SEC’s regulations. We’ve talked recently about how this heavy regulatory approach is bad for blockchain innovation and capital formation here in the United States.

So this was a smart move by Dorsey. Making the investment directly insulates Square. But it also keeps the door open to future partnerships with CoinList or perhaps an outright acquisition as Square expands its digital asset offerings.

And for curious investors; yes, I do like Square as a large-cap technology investment. For all investors looking for exposure to an innovative fintech company – and perhaps even digital asset technology down the road – I’d say take a close look at Square.


Jeff Brown
Editor, The Bleeding Edge