- A reader weighs in on surveillance technology
- Why I believe quantum computing will change the world for the better
- Here’s why I don’t recommend this investing practice to my subscribers
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.
Before that, please take a minute to read what I outline below. I guarantee that you won’t read or hear about this information from the mainstream media.
I’d like to share some more encouraging news concerning COVID-19. Research was just released by MIT concerning the effect of temperatures on COVID-19 transmissions.
The data shows that the maximum number of transmissions occurred in regions that had temperatures between 3 degrees and 13 degrees Celsius (37.4–55.4 degrees Fahrenheit).
The data also shows that countries with mean temperatures above 18 degrees Celsius (64.4 degrees Fahrenheit) have seen less than 5% of the total number of cases.
The researchers at MIT also determined that this data is consistent with the data seen in the United States. Specifically, the southern, warmer states have seen dramatically less growth in the outbreak than the cooler northern states.
The research from MIT is also consistent with work released Monday from Europe. That research determined that 95% of all cases globally took place in a temperature range of −2 degrees and 10 degrees Celsius (28.4–50 degrees Fahrenheit).
What does this all mean? As we quickly move into spring weather in the northern hemisphere (with temperatures in the 60s and above in Fahrenheit), we are going to see the number of new cases fall dramatically.
And even more encouraging is new data out of Norway demonstrating that mortality rates are only 0.38% and dropping as more people are tested. This is on par with a strong seasonal flu.
The reason that these numbers seem so low is that most countries are not testing their population for those who are asymptomatic – those that are producing or showing no symptoms of COVID-19 even though they contracted it.
We will see numbers even lower than this in the United States as the 400,000 tests a week that Roche is providing are utilized for testing. Data is the source of truth… not the mainstream media.
We have a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks… not only a return to more normal school and work conditions but also a recovery in the equity markets.
If you have a question you’d like answered next week, be sure you submit it right here.
A reader’s take on new surveillance technology…
Last week, I shared an insight with readers about a company called Banjo. The firm is using artificial intelligence (AI) to do something called “Live Time Intelligence” in Utah. Catch up on that story right here.
But if you missed that issue, here’s what you need to know…
Live Time Intelligence takes in all data from traffic cameras, CCTV, state-owned vehicles, and 911 emergency systems.
The company applies AI to this data to spot human behavior that isn’t considered “normal.” The goal is to predict where and when crime will happen before it is committed.
I asked readers their perspective on this new development. And one piece of feedback caught my attention.
I agree with you, Jeff – all this increased surveillance is scary. While I can see the good intentions behind it (for those who actually come from good, pure intentions and not power-seeking, that is), it’s really a complete invasion of privacy, especially for all the law-abiding citizens. It’s more than just a slippery slope at this point.
Even though the famous Benjamin Franklin quote may have originally been about money or taxes… it’s still good food for thought on topics such as this:
“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” (Or, more commonly stated as, “People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both.”
When it comes to letting the government and all these private companies invade our lives like this – and use it against us – I’m also reminded of a good movie line quote from The Pelican Brief: “We scarified the liberty the Framers thought they guaranteed us.”
– Bethany W.
Well said, Bethany. Thanks for your feedback. I agree with you.
As a technologist, I believe technology is the key to solving the world’s most pressing challenges. But technology must be used ethically and morally.
One of the most challenging tasks humanity will face over the next few years is to use bleeding-edge technology in a way that – as you said, Bethany – doesn’t endanger our liberties.
Whether it’s Live Time Intelligence, behavioral surveillance on the part of companies like Facebook and Google, or unlawful facial recognition, it’s important we, as law-abiding, tax-paying citizens, stay vigilant.
This is a topic I discussed with Glenn Beck when I was a guest on his podcast late last year. For anybody who missed that, you can watch it right here.
Is quantum computing “dangerous”?
Next up, another reader has a piece of feedback on the importance of maintaining our privacy and shares her concerns about quantum computing…
I don’t agree with the idea of [quantum computing], as it sounds dangerously close to our losing our freedom and privacy. The cost will not offset the risk in my opinion.
– Claire B.
Thanks for writing in with your thoughts, Claire. As you can tell by my first answer, I agree that technology shouldn’t be used to invade citizens’ rights.
That said, I do believe technology like quantum computing – if used ethically – could accomplish some remarkable things.
Just to bring new readers up to speed, last year we entered the age of quantum supremacy. That means today’s quantum computers are exponentially more powerful than even the most advanced classical supercomputer.
Last year, Google ran a test on its 53-qubit quantum computer. In those tests, it gave the quantum computer a task that would take the world’s most powerful supercomputer, Summit, 10,000 years to complete.
The quantum computer finished in three minutes and 20 seconds. Beyond amazing.
Quantum computing could be applied to tasks like weather prediction. Models today can predict large, regional events like snowstorms and hurricanes fairly well. But as we all know, these forecasts can often be inaccurate. There are simply too many variables for a classical computer to precisely forecast the impact of weather.
But for a quantum computer, we could predict near-term weather events with precision. And we could predict longer-term weather events weeks before they occur.
As another current example of how quantum computing can be used, one of the most complex biological mysteries is determining how proteins are folded.
I recently wrote in The Bleeding Edge about how we are now crowdsourcing ideas for protein folding in hopes that we get “lucky” and someone discovers a certain kind of protein that can bind to COVID-19 and stop the attack on our bodies.
This is an example of the kind of challenge that a quantum computer could take on.
And it is worth noting that with quantum computing comes quantum-enabled cybersecurity. In fact, there are already companies developing technology called quantum key distribution, which is a far more secure method of encryption than we are using today.
The key point is that quantum computing will be able to crack our existing encryption technologies, but we are going to change and upgrade our encryption technologies to something that won’t be hacked by quantum computers.
This is a problem that we know how to solve, but it will require a massive upgrade of the world’s security standards with regards to sending/receiving communications.
So I’m optimistic about quantum computing. Years from now, I think we’ll look back on this time as the period when quantum computing began to transform our world for the better.
Why I don’t recommend this investing strategy to readers…
With the recent market volatility, several investors have questions about averaging down by purchasing more shares in a company after the share price has fallen. It may surprise us to know that I don’t recommend this to my readers. Here’s why…
Hello Jeff, Can you explain why you don’t recommend averaging down? For example, after buying a stock at $20, it seems wonderful to buy it at $10 when you still have faith in it.
– Veronique F.
Thanks for your question, Veronique.
As you likely know, I recommend equal position sizing in all my paid research products. I have total conviction in every idea I recommend. But, of course, some of our investments will fare better than others.
So the risk we take if we average down on a position is that we go overweight on a position that produces average returns while being underweight on an outlier that outperforms. In the long run, we’ll maximize returns by being equal weight in each trade.
Now, if investors can average down across all positions and by doing so maintain an equal dollar weighting across the entire portfolio, then that is a reasonable approach.
I hope that answers your question.
That’s all the questions we have time for this week. If you’d like me to answer a question for you in our next mailbag edition, be sure you write to me by clicking here.
Editor, The Bleeding Edge
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