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Change From the Singuarity

international investment philosophy

By Gary Scott

The family cemetery on our farm has one headstone for a woman, whom I call Ida, who lived to be 115. Ida may have been the oldest person in America for all I know, at least in the top ten…right here at our home. 

She was born in 1794 and died in 1909. Modern medicine did not keep her alive. No drugs, no bypasses, no heart-lung machines. She must have been quite adaptive"a survivor.

Once, when visiting this grave, a neighbor commented, "she sure saw some changes in her lifetime." Wrong. Ida’s 115 years did not include anywhere as much change as we have all seen in the last 60 years. Not even close! Change has sped up in the last 50 years.

Spotting trends and adapting is a key to wealth, happiness and good living. Yet as change increases, so too does stress. And guess what? Change is not going to slow down. Ever faster growth is a feature in the bell shaped curve that rules the order of this universe in which we live. 


I recommend that you read Miller’s entire article on Singularity at
http://www.techcentralstation.com/081505C.html 

How fast will change accelerate? James D. Miller, assistant professor of Economics at Smith College a highly selective private liberal arts college for women located in Massachusetts gave us a clue when he wrote about "The Singularity Is Near" a thesis by Ray Kurzweil that states humanity is inexorably headed towards the Singularity. His article says:

"The singularity is a future period in which technological progress becomes so rapid that it radically transforms humankind. To picture the singularity imagine computers trillions of times smarter than Newton, Einstein and Edison inventing new technologies while continually enhancing their own abilities."

The article says the Singularity will occur around 2045 so if this is correct and if we live to be 100, we’ll see this. Wow…and I have trouble reading all the news now.

Miller points out that we as investors can use markets to spot the emerging trends and singularity. He wrote: 

"Singularity Prediction Markets

"Markets will be the best means of determining if the Singularity is in fact near. For example, Kurzweil writes that by the late 2020s we'll have "full-immersion virtual-reality environments incorporating all of the senses" resulting in there being "no reason to utilize real offices.

"Real estate will become virtual." Such virtual reality would crash housing values in places such as Manhattan, San Francisco and Boston. With virtual reality eliminating the need to live close to work, Americans would stop paying a huge premium to live near big cities. And if this virtual reality prediction comes true, housing prices won't suddenly crash in the late 2020s but rather will start to decline when many people begin to suspect that all the important real estate will soon be virtual."

This does not sound good for the real estate market but fortunately Miller also shows where to invest if we decide to bail out of our property deals before computers make land obsolete. He wrote:

"Kurzweil identifies three technologies that will bring about the singularity: computers, genetics and nanotechnology.

"Computers

"Moore's Law, formulated in 1965, states that "the number of transistors on a chip doubles about every two years." This doubling exponentially increases computer speeds while exponentially decreasing (quality adjusted) computer costs. For the next 15 to 20 years current technology will continue Moore's Law. After this period other technologies such as nanotube circuitry, optical computing, quantum computing and three-dimensional chip architecture can be employed to further augment computing power. There are so many possible means of expanding computing power that only a few have to be proved practical for the exponential growth in computer power to continue until 2045.

"Genetics

"Our ability to scan the brain is growing in a Moore's law-like exponential manner. Kurzweil argues that by the late 2020s we be able to reverse engineer the brain and use its secrets to better design computers. The human brain performs some tasks far better than today's computers but others far worse. If we can combine the best of the brain and machine we will have created thinking devices vastly superior to both today's biological and electronic calculating devices.

"Evolution has created biological processes that form structures at the nanometer level. Understanding our biological selves, Kurzweil argues, will also allow humanity to harness nanotechnology.

"Nanotechnology

"Nanotechnology refers to the building of extremely small machines. Kurzweil predicts that nanotechnology will improve artificial intelligence by allowing the construction of smaller, cheaper, more powerful computers. Furthermore Kurzweil predicts that nanobots, by the 2020s will travel throughout the human body, exploring the brain from the inside.

"Nanotechnology, if Kurzweil's predictions come true, will also insure that most people living today will reach the 2045 singularity. Kurzweil thinks that within 10 to 20 years biotechnologists will learn how to greatly slow down aging and eliminate most diseases. In the 2030s, Kurzweil writes, nanotechnology will "finish the job", allowing for the redesign of the human body into an almost immortal form."

This is good. Miller not only suggest that if we live to be 100 we’ll see almost unimaginable change, he also suggests that the change means we will live that long. 

Gary

international investment philosophy   international investment philosophy

 

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