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Archive for the ‘Accelerating Technology’ Category

The End of Everything and the Beginning of Nothing

April 26th, 2014

Zero Marginal Cost SocietyThe predominant economic systems are capitalism and communism. Both have their problems, which seems to explain the existence of mishy-mashy socialism in most countries.

Most futurists debate which economic system will dominate the next century. That’s a mistake, according to some experts, like Jeremy Rifkin. Rifkin recently wrote The Zero Marginal Cost Society that looks at how technology and ideas, like the Collaborative Commons, will re-shape the financial status quo.

Adding sensors to just about everything will move the power of info-centric businesses — think energy and utility companies — back into the hands of individuals. If a person had smart enough algorithms, for example, they could purchase energy much more efficiently, use it efficiently, and save it efficiently. In a very real sense, an individual could run their own utility company.

But, that’s just the beginning. Let’s try to connect all the zero-marginal cost technologies. 3-D Printing has already received lots of hype, but buried deep within this technology are several — forget disruptive — transformative technologies. What if you could 3-D print your own efficient solar cells? What if you could 3-D print your own efficient battery? Let’s go crazy here. What if you could 3-D print a fusion reactor for your home.

So, now you’re going to not only be a smart consumer — a prosumer in Rifkin’s lingo — to a smart producer — or a producer… wait, that doesn’t work. Anyway, what happens when you produce something for almost free and use it so efficiently that you avoid costs. Well, everything becomes nothing. In other words supply increases to near infinity and costs fall correspondingly to near nothing.

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Accelerating Technology, Business Strategy, Investing, Money , , , ,

Did Kickstarter donors just get ripped off for billions?

April 5th, 2014

By now, we have all read about the Facebook acquisition of Oculus, the virtual reality company, for $2 billion. That’s billion — with a “b.”

kickstarter

The debate can go on about whether this is a sell-out to Facebook and their slick and sometimes creepy marketing machine, or the next stage in a revolution of virtual reality. Or, both, for that matter. What a lot of people are wondering — especially those who donated money to Oculus through Kickstarter — is whether they got ripped off.

Kickstarter, a crowdsourced donation site, helped Oculus raise $2.4 million for its Rift product back in 2012. In exchange, backers received t-shirts, posters, and prototypes, depending on their level of gift.

So, legally, the answer is “no.” Nobody got ripped off. These people donated, they didn’t actually invest in the virtual reality company, nor were they promised any sort of any financial remuneration from Oculus for their donation, if they were able to sell the company.

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Crowdsourcing The Personal Hedge Fund

February 2nd, 2014
BOTR

BOTR

Many people have problems with hedge funds and big investment conglomerates. They rake in billions of dollars and live like rock stars.

People hate them so much they protest constantly, occupying this and occupying that.

But, I don’t have a problem with them. In fact, the chants of sympathy for the poor and working class and hand-wringing over income inequality are typically a cover for the protesters who are simply jealous of the big financiers. Had they stumbled onto these opportunities, they would be in the same penthouse, driving the same Porsche.

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Bitcoin 101: The Ultimate Source for Understanding Bitcoin

December 27th, 2013

Bitcoin1large

Bitcoin, an alternative currency that is challenging the rights of states to be the exclusive provider of currencies, continues to be hotly debated. Are they wave of the future for currency, or just the next Internet-based bubble? Is Bitcoin a viable form of currency, or simply another form of speculation?

Before you can answer the question, though, you need to find out just what the heck a Bitcoin is. Here, then, is a comprehensive list of information sources, as well as sources of insights, predictions and tutorials on Bitcoin.  This is a perfect place to start if one of your resolutions this year is to start exploring — and possibly investing in — this alt-currency.

This is a beginner’s guide to Bitcoin from Bitcoin Intro.

Go to Udemy and you can learn to stop worrying and love crypto. From the course intro:

The course is divided into several sections. The Core Lecture Path serves as a comprehensive introduction for beginners on all relevant topics necessary to have a deep understanding of Bitcoin including why Bitcoins have value, why they can be used for anonymous transactions, the current economy of Bitcoins, how they are made and distributed as well as speculation.

Take a course in Bitcoin from Khan Academy, one of the leaders in alternative online education.  In this course, you’ll get to hear answers from an expert on questions such as: “What are some general advantages to using Bitcoins in a transaction vs. using Dollars, Euros, Pesos, etc.– i.e., what is the point of their existence? As if the concept of paper money isn’t hard enough to comprehend; now, digital money.”

Here’s another Video Course on Bitcoin.

Need something even more basic? You can find a Bitcoin Wiki and learn how to use Bitcoins at this site.

Start Bitcoin walks you through the Bitcoin process.

Here’s a simple explanation of Bitcoin from Medium.com.

Interesting Bitcoin Investing Alternatives

If you’re ready to level up to beyond-the-basics, Bitcoin is inspiring entrepreneurs to create side businesses and investment alternatives.

This blog examines trading signals for Bitcoin — BTC Trading 

A group of founders created a investment trust called the Bitcoin Investment Trust. The minimum investment is $25,000.

Prediction Sources

The direction Bitcoins will take in 2014 is impossible to predict. There are too many variables and not enough historical data to offer some notion of how Bitcoins will react to different market conditions.

Conversations are divisive about the alt-currency. We have backers  and detractors.

It’s important to point out that we’ve seen pessimistic predictions proven wrong and optimistic forecasts dashed. However, expectations are high for 2014.

Happy learning! And have a Happy New Year!

Please feel free to pass on your comments, questions, and concerns.

Accelerating Technology, Internet, Investing, Online Investing AI , , ,

Will Disruptive Technologies Become Disruptive Disruptive Technologies?

December 14th, 2013

drone

The number of new technologies gushing out of startup companies and research laboratories are lapping at the shores of the consumer marketplace at a rate that is unprecedented in human history.

In another historic first, these innovations are coming from every field — computer, medical, logistical, etc. Previous eras have seen jumps in technologies in certain fields, for example, agriculture, or metallurgy, but not simultaneously.

This rush of innovation will destroy some current technologies and business models, it may collaborate with, or even extend others. Interestingly, we may see some of these new technologies disrupting each other. It’s a natural extension of the law of technological acceleration.

As a consumer or an investor, there are two trends that you should watch:

Drones
By now, you’ve seen or heard about Amazon’s investment in drone technology. The unveiling on CBS’s 60 Minutes was an internet sensation, spreading the news virally about a fleet of aircraft delivering packages to your home, or, for the dystopians, a fleet of craft that will hunt us down and kill us.

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Five Reasons to Buy Bitcoin Alternatives

December 7th, 2013
Bitcoin

Bitcoin ain’t the only fish in the pond.

A lot of people are miffed that they missed the Bitcoin explosion. The cryptocurrency went from a few dollars early last year into the $1,500 range  and then — Kaboom! — another collapse, to where it is currently trading.

The rise of Bitcoin has been a wild ride. It’s never been an Apollo moon rocket launch straight into space; the trajectory has traced a path more like one of those experimental rockets zigzagging across the sky. Bitcoin has seen a period of jumps and a period of cliff diving drops. That’s to be expected. In a way, Bitcoin is an experimental ship and we’re just beginning to understand these wild gyrations.

Even though Bitcoin gets most of the headlines — and, also, most of the criticism — it’s not the only alternative currency out there.

Here are just a few:

Litecoin — made from Bitcoin’s source code. It’s probably the biggest competition to Bitcoin.

Ripple — This is both a currency and a payment system. So. Bonus. And it’s backed by a lot of big players: Google Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, FF Angel LLC, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Vast Ventures and Bitcoin Opportunity Fund.

Opencoin — This currency was started in 2007, so the system has been around for a relatively long time.

(We’ll look at more options in future posts.)

Here are some reasons why you may want to keep an eye on Bitcoin, as well as some alternative currencies.

You May Pick a Winner, a Big Winner

One of these currencies become a standard online currencies. It could be the Amazon.com or the Google of e-currencies. And if a dominant currency arises, owning a piece of it would make it more valuable than either of those companies.

It’s a little like playing the lottery, sure, but if you play responsibly, the payoff might be huge!

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Accelerating Technology, Internet, Investing, Money

Is this the Start of the next Bitcoin Bubble?

October 22nd, 2013

Bitcoin has started to rise again, and it looks like it might be the start of the next Bitcoin bubble. Although many people have known about Bitcoin for years, most people have not purchased any coins and do not understand it.

Image courtesy bitcoincharts.com

Image courtesy bitcoincharts.com

How is this bubble different?

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10 Free Apps to Help You Declare Your Personal Financial Independence

July 1st, 2013

Two things made the American Revolution work: Ideas and Tools.

It was a great idea to become independent and to create a democracy in the new world, dominated by archaic colonialism and monarchism. However, if it wasn’t for the printing press, those ideas would have never got out. If it wasn’t for the rifle, those ideas would have never been defended.

You might say the American Revolution was the ultimate app.

But what about you? Do you have great ideas on how to save money, invest money, and budget money, but don’t have the resources or tools? Here are a few ways to simplify those tasks and make this July 4th — and every day after that — the day you declare your personal financial independence.

And, by the way, all these apps are Free, just like the founding fathers wanted them to be.

Mint.com

Mint made personal financial tasks easier and simpler. Their mobile apps are getting rave reviews, too.

To learn more, go to the Mint Apps page.

Manilla

Manilla apps can help you organize your bill-paying chores. Not paying your bills on time can lead to stress, anger, and… higher bills.

Here’s the page to find out more about Manilla apps.

SigFig

Making a bad investment is one thing, but you don’t know it’s bad unless you can see how bad it really is. SigFig helps you monitor your portfolio — and spot those bad investments. And good ones. Find out more at SigFig.

BillTracker

The BillTracker app helps you monitor your bills and pay them on time. Find out more at BillTracker.

Doxo

Doxo bills itself as a digital file cabinet so you don’t have pesky paper bills floating around mucking things up. You can check out this hand app here.

Forbes Intelligent Investing

Forbes is one of the biggest names in financial news and information. Their Intelligent Investing column is downright educational. You can get a look at the Intelligent Investing app here. Click on the Intelligent Investing tab.

Morningstar Apps

Track all of your investments and study all of your investment ideas with these Morningstar apps.

FX360

Forex people! You need free apps, too. Here’s a nice one from FX 360.

ETrade

From one of the biggest brokers, here’s a great app. Check out ETrade’s suite of mobile apps.

TD Ameritrade

And last but not least, if you use TD Ameritrade as your broker, you might want to plug into this free app.

Accelerating Technology, Investing, Money, Online Investing AI, Success, US Economy

The Dawn of the Quantum Age Nears

May 27th, 2013
Rose's Law gives you some idea of the super-exponential power quantum computers will offer.

Rose’s Law gives you some idea of the super-exponential power quantum computers will offer.

A few years ago — for fun — I started to read about quantum computing and quantum information. At the time, I believed that a real quantum computer was decades away, especially since that was what most experts were saying.

But, that’s linear thinking — and technology does not often follow linear progressions. Technology increases exponentially. And it may increase super-exponentially, if the latest quantum discoveries continue to flow from research labs and companies, such as D-Wave.

D-Wave recently announced that Google has signed up as one of their quantum computer customers and Google and NASA are teaming up to develop a Quantum AI lab. In case you don’t realize the implications: that’s friggin’ huge.

Quantum information processes use qubits, which are a lot like the bits of information we’re familiar with in binary computing. But, where a binary bit can be in a 1 position or a 0 position, a qubit can be in a 0 position or in a 1 position or anything in between — at the same time. It’s called superposition. Qubits in superposition are capable of massive feats of calculation. And, the more qubits that researchers learn to entangle, the more powerful these computers will become. How powerful? According to How Stuff Works:

A 30-qubit quantum computer would equal the processing power of a conventional computer that could run at 10 teraflops (trillions of floating-point operations per second). Today’s typical desktop computers run at speeds measured in gigaflops (billions of floating-point operations per second).

That’s pretty powerful. However, most experts say that quantum computers are better for certain computations that classic computers don’t even come close to matching. Because of a quantum computer’s ability to detect observation and its ability to massively crunch numbers, QCs make near perfect devices for encryption and cryptography.

But, in my opinion, sending and receiving secret messages is just the start. We don’t even know the full implications. Just a scattering of headlines this week points to the weird behavior of quantum mechanics stretches our understanding of time and space. Photons that are entangled before they even exist? Making a quantum computer out of good old fashioned silicon? We also see quantum technology mentioned in far-future devices: teleportation, time travel, etc.

Right now we look at the quantum computing age and compare it to the last technological sea change, the internet or dotcom age. Sure, it will make spies happy, but what about us? But, the quantum age may be like nothing on the historic charts, even beyond the civilization-molding steps of discovering fire and agriculture. I look at it more like the discovery of language, instead of discovering how to symbolically talk about reality, though, this quantum language will allow us to actually talk to our reality (or realities).

And maybe it will talk back.

 

Accelerating Technology, Investing, Money, Online Investing AI , , ,

The Next Step for Bitcoin

May 20th, 2013

Bitcoin has gone through its second bubble, and it is interesting to see how it survives. Although many people thought that the price would crash to a small fraction of its high of $262, it seems to have stabilized in the $100 to $120 range.

Image courtesy BitcoinCharts.com

Image courtesy BitcoinCharts.com

The popularity of Bitcoin has exploded over the last 6 months, and it was clear that the bubble would burst. However, it seems that Bitcoin has gained enough traction to make it survive through the price crash. The chart looks quite strong at the moment, but only time will tell if Bitcoin continues to rise in value.

Read more…

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