• AI is getting more humanlike…
  • Taxes will exist even in our virtual worlds…
  • Bill Gates saw something special in this company…

Dear Reader,

This was supposed to be fiction.

Source: Warner Brothers

The image above is from a scene in the post-apocalyptic movie I Am Legend, where the main character, thought to be the sole survivor amidst a sea of nocturnal zombies, is siphoning gas from a defunct gas station in New York City.

This is today in Los Angeles.

Source: LA Times

It should have never happened. And we’re all feeling the pain.

Some politicians want us to believe that this is all Russia’s fault. It’s not. It’s entirely based on a terrible string of intentional policy decisions:

  • Executive orders were issued in January of last year to halt new oil and natural gas leases on public lands.

  • No onshore lease sales for oil and natural gas production have happened since last January. This is the first time this has occurred in more than 20 years.

  • The Department of Energy and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have been withholding approvals for new liquefied natural gas terminals.

  • Last September, a federal judge blocked a major oil project in Alaska capable of producing 160,000 barrels a day.

These measures were all conducted under the guise of effecting a clean energy policy. But the data tells us the truth about what happened:

  • Energy production from coal, which had been on a decline since 2013, spiked in 2021. That’s correct. Energy production from the dirtiest carbon-based fossil fuel increased last year in the U.S. in order to offset the corresponding drop in energy produced by natural gas.

  • In 2013, coal represented 40% of the electricity production in the U.S. The steepest declines in the use of coal happened between 2017 and 2020. Coal, as a source of electricity, dropped all the way down to 20% and was planned to drop dramatically lower.

  • In 2021, coal as a source of electricity production jumped to more than 23%… almost a quarter of all energy production.

So what’s the net impact of these policies? The U.S. was a net exporter of petroleum in 2020. In 2022, that is no longer the case.

The U.S. administration is now scrambling to strike deals with terrible regimes like Nicolás Maduro’s in Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, while at the same time ignoring U.S. and Canada-based production and jobs.

I hate to say it, but we’re in for a continuation of ridiculously – and unnecessarily – high gasoline prices for some time.

The strategic petroleum reserves can be tapped, but they only hold about 30 days of daily U.S. oil consumption. And the reserves can’t be accessed all at once.

The maximum daily drawdown is only 4.4 million barrels of oil, and it takes 13 days before those reserves enter the U.S. market. The crude also has to be refined into its final product.

It is also important for us to understand that it would be impossible to deplete the entire reserves. They need to be maintained in the event of a real emergency.

The current administration doesn’t feel that $6 or $7 a gallon is an emergency, and that we should just all go buy electric vehicles (EVs) to solve the problem of high gas prices…

But the reality is, about 60% of all our electricity comes from fossil fuels (coal + natural gas), and another 20% of energy production comes from nuclear fission reactors (zero emissions, but produce nuclear waste).

That’s 80% of U.S. energy coming from “dirty” energy sources. That is the source of the electricity that fuels our electric cars. Not a clean solution after all.

I Am Legend was prescient for more reasons than one.

Most don’t know this, but the movie was loosely based on a novel by Richard Matheson published in 1954 under the same name. Somewhat ironically, the post-apocalyptic world in the book was caused by a pandemic that killed off most of the population.

The movie, however, developed a different storyline. Scientists had developed a virus that acted as a cure for cancer. The problem was that it didn’t work. It actually caused mutations of the human genome, and almost the entire human population was affected and turned into frightening nocturnal zombies.

Deeply concerning to me is that just days ago, research was published that demonstrated that the Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA “vaccine” entered into a human liver cell and modified the human DNA through a process known as reverse transcription.

This is precisely what the government told us would never happen.

This research was conducted in a laboratory setting, and a lot more work needs to be done to understand what this means at a population scale and understand the long-term health impacts. But this is the first time that I have seen scientific evidence that is frightening.

Aside from the ridiculously high gas prices, let’s hope that the rest of the storyline of I Am Legend remains fiction.

Just one more thing… In less than a week, I’ll be unveiling my secret project…

I call it the “Perceptron.” It can identify special 60-day windows where crypto profits up to six figures are possible… and tell us exactly when to enter and exit our positions.

So for the first time, Brownstone Research will be bringing short-term cryptocurrency trades to readers.

The technology built into this system is so advanced, I’ve applied for a patent to protect my intellectual property.

And I’m finally ready to share all the details next Wednesday night. On March 16, I’ll explain the technology behind the “Perceptron”… and how it all works.

I’ll even share a free trade with everyone who attends.

So, if you have an interest in the crypto markets… or are just looking for a way to profit amid the current volatility… then please go right here to sign up to attend.

This is going to be a fun evening. I look forward to seeing you there!

This tech is the bridge to artificial general intelligence…

One of our early stage watchlist companies just made an incredible breakthrough. And it’s one of the largest developments in artificial intelligence (AI) to date.

When we last checked in on Graphcore, the company had just released its second-generation semiconductor.

As a reminder, Graphcore calls its chips intelligence processing units (IPUs). It designed them exclusively for AI applications.

And Graphcore’s second-generation chip outperformed the top-performing AI semiconductors on the market at that time.

Well, the company just turned it up in a big way…

Graphcore just released its “Bow” IPU chip. And this thing is one of the most powerful semiconductors on the planet.

Here it is:

Graphcore’s Bow Structure

Source: Graphcore

Click to Enlarge

As we can see above, Graphcore is doing something neat with this one. The company is stacking two different chips on top of each other. This is what makes the semiconductor so powerful.

Graphcore’s Bow IPU can run a neural network model that has about 500 trillion parameters. To put that in perspective, the human brain is estimated to have a few hundred trillion synapses.

So this chip is capable of loosely modeling a human brain. That’s a first in the industry.

And even more incredible is the fact that it can run on a computing system the size of something that would sit on a desk. It packs a lot of power into a small space.

The price of the chip is low enough to essentially democratize supercomputing for most organizations. It costs $150,000… not tens, or hundreds of millions.

And speaking of supercomputers, Graphcore is already planning its next product. The company is calling it the “Good” computer, and it will have an array of these Bow IPUs capable of producing over 10 exaFLOPs.

An exaFLOP is one quintillion (1018) floating-point operations per second. Or to put it another way… To match what an exaFLOP computer system can do in a single second, we’d have to do one calculation every second for 31,688,765,000 years.

And for comparison, the world’s fastest supercomputer – which will be turned on in the U.S. this year – will only produce 1.5 exaFLOPs. So Graphcore’s new chips are going to power something that’s nearly seven times more powerful. Incredible.

A computing system like this will become the foundation of the development of artificial general intelligence (AGI). AGI refers to an AI that can think, understand, learn, and solve problems in the same way that a human can… only it will be “superhuman.”

So Graphcore’s new semiconductor is the bridge to AGI. That’s how big this breakthrough is. Other players in the space will follow quickly in the next 12 months.

There won’t just be one computing platform. There will be a handful of leaders in this space. It is all happening at once, right now.

And I should add that I am both incredibly excited… and a bit nervous about this.

A world with AGI will be fundamentally different from the world we know today…

There will be no hiding from the taxman in metaverses…

Taxes are coming to a metaverse near you.

Popular Web 2.0 game Second Life just announced that it will have to charge users state and local taxes on in-game purchases. We can’t even get away from the taxman inside a metaverse.

Second Life is a popular online game where users can live a virtual “second life.” The game is like a metaverse for Web 2.0 that’s targeted at adults.

The game launched in 2003. And even today, nearly two decades later, it has one million active monthly users. These are people who log in and play consistently every single month.

And these users are highly active in Second Life. They buy, sell, rent, or trade goods and services in what is basically a simulation of real life. Second Life generates $600 million a year in revenue from this economic activity.

Users do all this using the in-game currency. It’s called the Linden dollar ($L). This is a Web 2.0 digital currency – it’s not blockchain-based. But the Linden dollar is convertible into U.S. dollars. Users can “cash out” their $L.

And believe it or not, content creators rake in over $80 million annually this way.

That makes Second Life the perfect Web 2.0 analog for the Web 3.0 “play-to-earn” games that are on the rise right now.

So the fact that Second Life just announced that users will need to pay taxes on in-game activity is a glimpse of what’s to come. We can expect Web 3.0 metaverses to take the same stance.

It all comes back to a 2018 Supreme Court case: South Dakota v. Wayfair.

In that case, the court ruled that states and local governments can charge sales tax for products sold by online companies even if they do not have a physical presence in the area.

Second Life has been taking care of state and local taxes ever since that case. It simply paid the taxes on behalf of its users. It shielded users from the taxes so they wouldn’t negatively impact sentiment.

However, the tax burden is now too great. Starting on March 31, users will be required to pay taxes on in-game activity.

The bottom line is this – taxes will extend into all metaverses. There’s no getting away from it. That’s true in the U.S. and Europe, and it will likely be true on a global level.

Believe it or not, blockchain technology makes it even easier to track, record, and tax all transactions in a metaverse. We should set our expectations accordingly.

How Moore’s Law will extend well into the future…

There have been more than a few “experts” who have predicted that we will soon hit a wall with regards to Moore’s Law. They say we are about to reach the physical limit. I have repeatedly predicted that the opposite will be true.

For the sake of newer readers, Moore’s Law refers to the observation that the number of transistors on a microchip doubles every two years. This leads to an exponential increase in computing power over time.

Yet skeptics point to the fact that at some point we won’t be able to make semiconductors any smaller.

But here’s what they miss…

The industry is making incredible advancements around another form of semiconductor technology called silicon photonics. Where traditional semis use electricity to move data through the chip, silicon photonics uses light.

Here’s why that’s important…

As we know, electricity moving through silicon creates heat. The more electricity, the more heat. And heat creates friction, which slows down performance.

With traditional semiconductor tech, heat production constrains high-performance chips. This is the problem that photonics solves. Light does not generate any heat. And that enables even more powerful semiconductors.

A recent venture capital (VC) raise shows things are heating up in this space…

An early stage company called Luminous just raised $105 million in its Series A funding round. Several VC firms participated in the round, as did Bill Gates. Interestingly, Gates invested his personal money in this one. He did not act on behalf of another entity.

This indicates that Gates saw something he couldn’t pass on in the work Luminous is doing on next-generation silicon photonics.

So silicon photonics is one of the technologies that will push Moore’s Law forward. The same is true for the kinds of semiconductors that Graphcore is producing. And the quantum leap in computer processing power will, of course, come from quantum computing.

And the next time you hear somebody say Moore’s Law is dead, feel free to correct them.

The rise of silicon photonics, AI accelerators, and ultimately quantum computing will ensure not only that computer processing power will continue to grow exponentially, but that we’ll soon see a quantum leap that is hard for us to imagine today.


Jeff Brown
Editor, The Bleeding Edge

Like what you’re reading? Send your thoughts to [email protected].