jueves, 28 de mayo de 2015
The End of Aging
By Paul Mampilly, editor, Professional Speculator
Two trends are converging and setting up what I believe will become an incredible megatrend...
The first trend is based on the aging populations in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. More than 25% of the population in these regions is older than 64 – and potentially out of the workforce. You want to see a rising population of people from 20 to 64. But between 2008 and 2013, that age range fell for almost every country in the European Union, as well as Japan and the U.S. (You can see that data here.)
Right now, by the time you're 65, your vision and hearing are starting to go. Your arms and legs can't do what they could when you were younger. And your risks of cancer and heart disease increase. But technology is going to change that.
Imagine getting an implant that gives you better hearing than the normal human ear... better eyesight than the normal human eye... or better hand dexterity than the normal two-handed person.
Imagine robots that can detect cancer the moment it develops, and zap it with a laser... or super drugs that can identify your specific heart disease variant and effectively cure it through a personalized drug.
You might think I'm describing something that will be possible in the next century, or even the next millennium. But I'm actually describing what's going on right now. We're already developing bionic eyes and ears, robotic interventions against cancer, and medicine based on your personal genetic code.
Developing alongside the trend of stopping the aging process as we know it is a second megatrend: the digitization of the world.
Michael McAlpine is an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton University. He led a group that developed a 3D-printed ear implant. McAlpine believes his work could lead to the creation of a man-made sixth sense that's electronic and replaces human senses...
As the world becomes a more digital and electronic place, I think we're going to care less about our traditional five senses... and we're going to want these new senses to give us direct electronic communication with our cell phones and laptops.
Imagine having wireless connectivity to the Internet with your eyes and ears... or being able to hear a pin drop or read small text from across the room... or possessing super strength in your arms and legs. It might seem far-fetched right now. But the reality is that we are well on our way to developing these things already.
At first, these technologies will help stem the effects of aging. But younger people are going to eventually want and demand these super senses, too.
Like with most innovations, this won't happen all at once. Progress will seem slow at first. But we need to know that as these technologies mature, there will be incredible opportunities for early investors.
New products and industries will emerge, and the stocks of these companies will soar as investors anticipate their huge potential. You could gain exposure to these developments by buying the large-cap medical-device companies like Medtronic, St. Jude Medical, and Boston Scientific. But to really capture these technologies' explosive potential, you should look to the small-cap companies that are pure plays on these technologies.
miércoles, 27 de mayo de 2015
How Big Data Will Change Your Everyday Life
By Paul Mampilly, editor, Professional Speculator
Imagine walking into a restaurant and the waiter already knows what you're going to order. Walking into a Starbucks and your pumpkin-spice latte is waiting for you already. Shopping for a new pair of pants online and the website shows you only the items in your size with the colors and styles you like.
The world I'm describing is custom-made for you. And it isn't science fiction. It's an emerging trend called "Big Data," which allows for the storage of incredible amounts of data on computers... like what songs you're listening to, what stores you shop in, and more.
Over time, this huge amount of data can accurately predict behavior in things like what consumers are interested in buying. And when you can predict these things, you can anticipate their needs before they even know them.
Here's how it works: Information scientists create programs and algorithms to crawl through data around the clock with the intention of figuring out your preferences. Over time – and with more data – these programs and algorithms learn more about you and what you like. One day soon, you'll be able to automate your decisions... including what to eat and drink, what clothes to wear, and what you'll do on the weekend.
We can see early signs of Big Data already. When you browse the Internet, you see ads tailored to things you have searched for or purchased. Imagine that type of experience in the world around us... Soon, your decisions will be made for you. That's the future I envision. And if I'm right, it means certain companies will be making billions of dollars off it.
Companies investing heavily in Big Data include well-known blue-chip companies like IBM, which has a product called Watson. Watson is a computer that uses Big Data to answer questions. IBM has already signed deals to integrate Watson with consumer-products icon Apple's new smart watch.
One industry set to benefit greatly from the growth of Big Data is health care. In 2013, the U.S. spent $2.9 trillion on health care... nearly $10,000 per person. Research suggests that as much as one-third of that spending is wasteful and, worse, potentially harmful to patients. Sure enough, IBM is collaborating with health care giant Johnson & Johnson's knee- and hip-implant division. And IBM is working with Medtronic to connect heart devices, diabetes pumps, and other medical devices.
You could buy shares of IBM to gain exposure to this long-term megatrend. But I prefer the idea of speculating through smaller companies like Splunk, Tableau Software, Infoblox, and Neustar, who are working to create cutting-edge applications using Big Data.