Publisher’s Note: For the rest of this week in Money Morning we’re featuring our technology specialist, Sam Volkering. Sam’s currently putting the final touches on a major new piece of research. The article below gives you an insight into that research. Keep your eye out on Saturday, when he will release his groundbreaking report…
I’m wildly optimistic about the future of robotics. In particular I think that in 2015 we’ll see the early stages of a complete new era of home robotics.
I liken it to the early days of the PC or the mid 2000s, when the smartphone was starting to take shape.
Investors in key technology companies at the beginning of those two waves of consumer electronics would have made huge gains in related stocks.
Apple, Microsoft and IBM are obvious. But early investors also made fortunes in stocks that not everyone knew about. Companies like EMC, Western Digital and Cisco also saw huge returns for investors.
Well, next year, two consumer home robots will hit the market. And they will blow our minds like the Motorola DynaTac did back in the day. But have a look at the DynaTac.
It doesn’t look so high tech to us today, does it? Motorola discontinued production of the DynaTac in 1994.
And today, 20 years later, Apple released a new iPhone that comes with a fingerprint scanner, biometric sensors, a digital wallet and the latest in wireless high-speed data technologies.
All this progress in just 20 years.
The robots coming next year will be early stage versions of home robots. Although they may seem cutting edge today, in 10 years, we’ll look back on them as we do on the DynaTac today.
And when we look back, we’ll look at all the other high tech robots we will have by then, and wonder how we ever managed without them.
Robotics is finally where so many over the last few decades expected it to be. We may have had to wait longer than we wanted, but we now have the technology to make it happen…and make it affordable.
While home robotics is set to be the next massive wave of innovation, another, more unassuming branch of robotics is also about to take off.
We have to teach the kids of the future what life is like today
I became an uncle this year. I now have a little nephew, Barnaby. He’s the baby of my partner’s brother. And in a few months my own brother and his wife will have a baby. So I’m going to be an uncle twice in a year.
I don’t like the name Uncle Sam.
After discussing the matter, everyone has agreed that little ones will know me as ‘Coach’.
Someone asked how and in what I would ‘coach’ the kiddies. Aside from the obvious (how to kick an Aussie footy), I’m going to coach the kids on technology, and teach them about what technology was like before they were born.
I’ll tell them about extraordinary breakthroughs like Knight’s Quest on the Apple IIe. About a weird music format that burned a short but bright life…MiniDisc. I will explain to them that phones used to have buttons on them. And that we once used to live without home robots.
One of the more fascinating things I’ll coach them on is how we used to drive cars.
I’m convinced that one day Barnaby and my unborn and unnamed niece or nephew will struggle to believe that ‘back in my day’ we used to sit in a car and have full control.
Self driving cars will hit the road in just a few years. Well, technically they’re already on the road — for testing. Soon, very soon, you’ll be able to walk into your local Honda, BMW or Volvo dealership and buy one.
And instead of driving away in your brand new car, you could jump in the back and let the car do all the work.
I realise that might seem scary, but what if I told the car would get you home safer than you could manage yourself?
Now Honda’s in
Take for example Honda’s self driving car project.
Engadget’s Richard Lawler had a chance to ride in a self driving Honda (Acura in the US) TLX. As Lawler said, ‘As it turns out, after three years in development, Honda’s technology can handle merging into highway traffic better than some people I know.’
What’s so encouraging about Honda’s technology is this car is testing in real-world conditions. That means it’s self driving amongst human drivers.
And as we all know the most unpredictable thing on the road isn’t a car; it’s the people driving them. If Honda’s technology can handle driving on real roads today, how good will its technology be in five years?
And my point about robotics. It’s why I’m so optimistic. Self driving cars, home robots — today’s technology is breathtaking, the stuff of science fiction.
But remember how in awe we were in the 80s and early 90s of the Motorola DynaTac? The thing is a brick today.
Considering the speed with which technology is advancing, it’s not going to take 20 years for the robot technology of today to go from ‘DynaTac to iPhone’. As the law of technological compounding takes hold, we’ll see rapid advancement in five or 10 years.
We’ll see companies advance and innovate robotic technology so fast that we’ll forget what it was like in the ‘good old days’ of the 2010s…in the pre-robot era. Except we won’t actually think of those as the ‘good old days’, because robots will make our lives exponentially better.
Many people are unaware or can’t believe that this robotic wave is coming. But you have to look beyond what you can see today. Look to tomorrow. See what’s coming. Understand how technology advances.
If you can do that, then you’ll also see that we’re at the very beginning a new era of technology. Robotics will enter our daily lives in more ways than you probably realise.
Of course, I could be wrong. But I think it’s obvious. And if you’re like me, and you think the next huge wave of technology is robotics, then you’ll be interested in something we call The Hundredth Robot. More on that later in the week.
Technology Analyst, Revolutionary Tech Investor