Artificial intelligence is a current hot topic for investors but much of what is hyped as AI may not be all that it seems. Hype is a term often seen around disruptive innovations and Gartner penned the hype cycle a couple of decades or so ago in order to describe the different stages (“peak of inflated expectations”, trough of disillusionment”, “slope of enlightenment”, “plateau of productivity”). More recently, analyst Davey Jose at sombre bank HSBC modernised the picture, using terms like “hype mania”, “backlash” and “real application”.
A few weeks ago Google announced that it was close to achieving “quantum supremacy”. Maybe the machines are about to take over. Actually, Google has just made the next stage quantum computing chip (called Bristlecone) that has 72 bits. John Martinis, who heads Google’s effort, says it’s “pretty likely” that the new chip can achieve “quantum supremacy.” But what does this mean?
Investors usually focus on buy price, exit price and perhaps how long in-between the two. But we may be looking in the wrong direction altogether. Earlier this year, Forbes magazine ran a headline declaring that we’ve come to a pivotal moment for investors, particularly for those in innovative businesses. The article pointed out that some events stand out as watershed moments such as Bill Gates writing his “Tidalwave of the Internet” memo in 1995 or Steve Jobs holding up the iPhone in 2007. So what was this earth changing event?