Editor’s note: Today and tomorrow, Dispatch readers are in for a special treat.
Regular readers know that Casey Research founder Doug Casey has been writing about the future of technology and how the next generation of breakthroughs are going to change our lives.
And recently, he shared the stage with Jeff Brown – one of the foremost experts in the tech world – at the Legacy Investment Summit in California. As a former executive at Qualcomm and NXP Semiconductors, Jeff has the inside track on some of the biggest developing trends in tech.
So starting today, we’re sharing their conversation with Chris Lowe – editor of Legacy Research’s Daily Cut newsletter – about the most exciting technologies on their radar. Below, Doug and Jeff dive into quantum computing, artificial intelligence, life extension science, and more.
And be sure to check your inbox tomorrow for part two of this discussion…
Chris Lowe, editor, The Daily Cut: So, we’re going to be talking about technology and the future of technology. I’ve been looking forward to this, so we can dive deeper into it.
I thought I’d start with you, Jeff, because you talk about this event, which is quantum supremacy. Google seems to have done a quantum calculation, as I understand it, and a lot of people are worried or thinking about what that means for blockchain and bitcoin. Could you talk a little bit more about that, whether you think quantum computing is going to happen? Are we there yet? Is it a long way away? What’s your take?
Jeff Brown, editor, Early Stage Trader: Obviously quantum supremacy is here. It’s happened. It’s over. We can’t take it back.
The even more exciting part is it’s not just one company that controls it. A company called D-Wave Systems actually provided Google with its first quantum computers that it was experimenting with a couple years ago. They’re already on their second generation of quantum computing.
There’s a fantastic company in Silicon Valley called Rigetti Computing that, from my perspective, actually has the most elegant architecture for quantum computing. And will probably reign in the very near future in terms of overall quantum capacity.
Chris: And what are we talking about? We’re talking about quantum computing. We know there’s something called quantum mechanics that exists in the world. I’m not going to ask you to explain it completely, but why are people excited about quantum computing? What can it do that digital computing, binary computing, can’t do?
Jeff: A quantum computer works with something called a quantum bit, or a qubit. And in classical computing architectures, you basically have two states: a zero or a one. Obviously, that has some pretty severe limitations in terms of what we can do.
With quantum computing, we have multiple states for one qubit. And because of that, it’s exponentially more powerful, potentially more powerful, than our classical computing architectures. Which is why this simple 53-qubit quantum computer that Google demonstrated was capable of doing something in three minutes and 20 seconds that it would take the most powerful supercomputer in the world 10,000 years to perform.
I think that’s just a good reference point to understand how dramatic the scale, the power, the improvement is when you leap towards a quantum-computing environment.
Chris: And are you worried about that being an immediate threat, or even a near-term threat, to blockchain-based cryptography?
Jeff: So, it depends on what we define as near term. For the next nine to 12 months we’re okay, but after that, there’s not a lot of time to work with. The great thing about blockchain technologies is software, which means it can be upgraded.
If I were working on a blockchain project right now or running a blockchain company, the discussion I’d be having this morning with my team is, “How do we fix this? We need to start now, because it’s going to take us nine, 12, 18 months to redesign our technology.” So, the smart ones in the industry will be working on this before the end of this year.
Chris Lowe: Doug, what’s your take on this breakthrough with quantum supremacy? Do you buy into this idea that this is going to be a real thing, quantum computing? Is it something you’re excited about?
Doug Casey, founder, Casey Research: Yeah, very much. Jeff, I’ve got to ask. Since that announcement was made, is there a correlation between that and any recent weakness in the various tokens, price-wise?
Jeff: There is some speculation about exactly that.
Doug: That would make sense. Anyway, I agree with all this. I acquired a cell phone a couple years ago. The only reason I did that was because I got together with John McAfee. We spent the day together and mostly talked about guns and politics, as opposed to computer stuff.
I never use my cell phone. I mean, for emergency purposes only. In some ways, I may be becoming a dinosaur in the technological area, or some parts of it, anyway. And not one of those smart little velociraptors, but one of those tired old brontosauruses.
I don’t know who, it might’ve been Arthur C. Clarke, who said that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, and that’s true. The exponential curve that actually started 200,000 years ago is approaching its peak, and Ray Kurzweil is probably right about the “singularity” within the next generation. So, I think this is great, because it all adds up to a wonderful bubble that we may be able to capitalize on.
The ultimate problem of life is death. And the wonderful thing about all these developments in technology, including this breakthrough that Jeff announced yesterday… I read about that too, and I was wondering, “I wonder if we’ll get a flood of articles that are going to explain this in some detail?” I’m sure we will.
This is the absolute biggest thing. All these technologies being developed… the biggest of them all I think, by far, is actually the life extension movement that relates to all these technologies. It’s really important.
I read science magazines, and I read science books and history books, generally ancient history. It’s kind of an odd combination, most people think. I don’t keep up with the tech companies, which I should, but it’s a question of specialization and division of labor.
So, I’ve got some cryptos and I’m going to get more, and basically Marco [Wutzer] runs cryptos for me. A man’s got to know his limitations. I’m wandering on, I’m sorry.
Chris: No, perfectly all right, Doug.
Jeff: Actually, I’m glad Doug brought up Arthur C. Clarke. Another one of his famous positions was, the fact that we haven’t had first contact yet with another life form is actually, from his perspective, a sign that there is life in the universe. We’re so primitive as we sit here today, compared to an advanced life form, that they wouldn’t have any interest at all.
We’re walking around the planet like gorillas pounding on sand in the grand scheme of technological development. We’re just getting to the stage where things are getting very interesting. This technological “singularity” that was actually first discussed and written about by Vernor Vinge, another great sci-fi writer, is coming much faster than we envisioned.
Chris: Explain what you mean by the “singularity.”
Jeff: This is the point of artificial superintelligence. A superintelligence can synthesize and understand all of the information available to the human race, and put that information to use. Kurzweil has forecasted that will happen by 2039, and I think we all recognize that’s not that far away. We’re talking just 20 years, two decades.
And if we have rapid advancements in quantum computing technology in the next two or three years, which we will, that moment in time can actually happen a lot sooner than even Kurzweil is predicting.
Chris: Jeff, I know one of the big themes you talk about is artificial intelligence, and now you’ve got quantum computing. Do those things sort of meet in the middle somewhere? Does one help the other? Is one an accelerant? Does quantum computing accelerate artificial intelligence? Make it more powerful? How do they interact?
Jeff: The only thing that has held back artificial intelligence over the last decade has been the lack of computing power. These specialized semiconductors – the fact that we can now augment those with an all-powerful quantum computer means that will just accelerate. Artificial intelligence feeds off of these hardware advancements, if that makes sense.
Chris: And Doug, within life extension, what do you find interesting? Where are the technologies that you think would be significant in terms of some sort of life extension?
Doug: Well, people really started talking about this seriously back in the ’70s. And what could you do back in the ’70s, actually? You could take vitamins and other supplements. That’s basically it. Free radical cleansers to keep nasty little molecules from breaking down the ones that you want staying in your body.
But it’s advanced a lot beyond just take a vitamin C supplement every day, and you can absolutely forget about things like One A Day tablets and all of that. It’s essentially a scam on many levels, so keep your money in your pocket for that kind of stuff.
Right now, it seems that humans are genetically programmed to live no more than 120 years. The oldest people that have ever lived – and there are not too many of them – tap out at about 120. But a lot of advancements that are being made in molecular engineering and so forth could extend that radically. The fact that I’ve already gotten a new knee – works perfectly, incidentally. I’m very glad I did that.
You can replace body parts. You might be able to become bionic. What’s happening with stem cells… a lot of scams and marketing and so forth to do with that, but that’s going to happen. There’s really tremendous cause for optimism.
I’ll tell you the main thing that scares me about this all slowing down. In the past, when Isaac Newton could play on the seashore and make observations and draw conclusions – that wasn’t really expensive high technology. But today with everything is very expensive. What is that thing on the Swiss/French border?
Chris: The large hadron collider?
Doug: Yes. These things are mega expensive, and so many other areas of technology are, too. This is how economics relates to technology. If, for some reason, the capital is not available to do these things, well, it’s going to slow progress down. People say, “Well, there’s lots of capital. We’re not dealing in just billions anymore. We’re dealing in trillions of dollars.”
Well, yeah, that’s true, but the way you build capital on the most basic level is by producing more than you consume and you save the difference. That is how capital is generated. In theory, there should be seven billion or so people on the planet that are doing that. But then we get to the problem of, well, how do they save that capital? Do they put aside the graze of corn or something? That’s capital.
They put it in currencies. I think we’re getting to a point where all of these currencies that are just paper fiat things are going to be destroyed. And there’s going to be billions and billions of people, that aren’t very financially sophisticated, that are going to have most of their capital that they’re putting aside destroyed.
The real wealth in the world will still be there. Maybe it won’t be there for other reasons, but I think it’s going to advance. Jeff is absolutely right, barring some force major like that.
Unfortunately, some kind of force major like that, I think, is very likely. And what the consequences of that are going to be on the continuing advancement – because it’s so expensive and because you need all that capital – it’s a complication.
Chris: What’s your take, Jeff, in terms of the specifics of life extension? You talk a lot about CRISPR, and that seems to be a very interesting thing, you can edit genes. In 20 years’ time, what options does a human have in terms of editing him or herself?
Jeff: Well, preferably you’d have somebody do that for you. Certainly within 20 years, any human condition that is caused by either a singular genetic mutation or multiple mutations will no longer exist. They will be treatable. That’s the good news.
So, if we just take really good care of ourselves for the next five or 10 years, we have incredible promise to live well beyond 120 years in very good health and very good quality of life.
We have already seen… in fact, just a couple weeks ago there was a very interesting research report that was published, and it was really incredible. There were four patients that took a combination of two Type II diabetes drugs – they didn’t have diabetes – and a growth hormone.
They were treated for a year, and on average, they became younger by just over two years. The age of their cells got younger just with this combination of off-the-shelf drugs. So, this is not anything that is advanced or customized to an individual genetic makeup. It’s not personalized medicine.
This was off-the-shelf medicine that essentially made humans younger. And so, if we can do that, combined with genetic editing – in other words, correcting mutations that really shouldn’t have happened in the first place, and then have the ability to actually make ourselves younger – to Doug’s point, we have great cause for optimism.
Chris: And Doug, is there any way that could go wrong?
Doug: No, I don’t think so. I take one of those three things. I’ve been on it for the last six months, metformin. The thing is, there’s so many things that are happening so quickly, I can’t even keep up. Two old friends of mine – both genius-level kind of people, I don’t know if you’ve heard of them – Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw.
You may or may not remember their book was a number one bestseller back a long time ago, in 1980, it was called Life Extension: A Practical Scientific Approach. It was an 800-page book on science, and it became a number one New York Times Best Seller. So, I do that.
Now, what can go wrong? Well, almost anything, but look, you’ve got to look at the state of things right now. Unless some breakthroughs are made… you know, I was at a conference in California a little while back, ten years back, and people were asking, serious intelligent people, “Well, what can go wrong?” And I said, “I don’t care what can go wrong from that point of view.”
Why not? Because as you advance in age, your body falls apart on you. It’s the second law of thermodynamics. It’s one of the very few laws I believe in. Unless you do something, or some kind of magic happens, you’re going to, at least on a physical level, disappear.
So, I’m willing to try anything. This is one of the reasons why I believe that the Food and Drug Administration should be abolished, not just cut back, abolished urgently and immediately.
All these government agencies are criminally insane in the way they react to the world, I’d say. That’s one of the most – it should be renamed the Federal Death Authority. In point of fact, it kills more people every year than the Department of Defense does in a typical decade. So, there are all kinds of advances that they raise the cost.
It’s well known, and numbers vary, but it costs at least $1 billion now to develop any major new drug, and ten years. Is that necessary? I don’t know, but – well, no, it’s not necessary is the answer to that question.
So much of that goes to lawyers and wasted capital that is unnecessary. And it affects you personally, so, no, no limits, no regulations. Try it all. A few people get killed. Okay, but that’s just the nature of life. A few people always get killed when you do anything.
If we lived in a regulated environment, Orville and Wilbur [Wright] would never have gotten off the ground in North Carolina in 1903. It wouldn’t have happened. You wouldn’t be driving cars today, because it would just be idiotically dangerous to consider driving on a road with two cars approaching each other at, let’s say 60 miles an hour, and they’re not going to hit head on half the time. So, yes, go for it. You’ve got nothing to lose; you don’t.
Editor’s note: As you can see from his conversation with Doug, Jeff’s insights make him one of the most trusted experts in the tech sector. And it’s paid off for his readers. He pointed them to five triple-digit winners in 2019 alone… and he’s just getting started.
Recently, Jeff revealed one of his newest strategies to profit off of what he calls a “timed stock”…
For the past five years, he’s been refining this system. It targets a group of tech stocks that often go overlooked.
But thanks to a government mandate, these stocks have a preset “timer” attached to their share prices. Once that timer hits zero, a stock can soar hundreds of percent in days… or even hours.
In fact, Jeff’s readers recently locked in a 432% gain in 41 days from just one of these “timed stocks.”
He’ll tell you all about it in this video right here. But it will be taken down soon, so don’t delay.