12 Tech Theses of the 2030s

The secret mechanics set to reshape our world that nobody is talking about

0. Setting the Stage

Most days, I feel like a mad man. If you look at a number of venture capital firms you’ll notice striking similarities when it comes to their investment strategies. They list a sector as a thesis rather than a very specific product interpretation of how it will play out.

For example, you’ll see things they invest in called AI, VR, IoT, Blockchain, Social, Mobile, Local. But what they don’t tell you is how the winner will be chosen. They don’t say what is the critical aspect that, if they get right, creates the winner.

With search engines, Google ultimately won because they had a better algorithm than anything that came before it. So if your investment thesis was Search, it wasn’t enough to just say “search”, what mattered was that they returned you the right results you were looking for nearly instantly, and then funded itself by sticking an ad at the top.

Limited Partners who give these VCs money are therefore caught in the same trap. Because they believe what the VCs are telling them to believe. The VC is the “expert” after all, right? Because investors see the deal flow, thousands of startups every year, and therefore understand what everyone is working on.

But something smells fishy, no?

If a scientist invents something truly novel, with the potential to revolutionize a world, everyone assumes that it will magically float to the top. But that’s now how our world works. TechCrunch doesn’t go out and find the startup before they get funding. They don’t go into the science labs and see what people are working on. The New York Times doesn’t report on things before they happen.

And what if the entrepreneur never raises capital. The investor never even hears about what they’ve built.

It’s left to papers being submitted to arXiv, which sounds like a labyrthian codex that no mere mortal can understand without multiple deep science degrees.

So everyone out there predicting the future, is really only predicting what TechCrunch tells them to predict. Because that’s all they see. It’s survivorship bias. TechCrunch doesn’t report on AirBnB until after it’s already passed a number of gates. But in order to pass through those gates people need to believe in it. But those people need to be able to understand it to invest in it, report on it, and buy it.

Do you see the problem? That’s why we’re stuck in a world where the greatest builders of our generation are still building social media apps or job boards.

It’s everyone’s fault. The scientists who can’t commercialize something on their own. The investors for not seeing the future beyond a 5 to 10 year payback period on the fund. The LPs who can only see what the VCs tell them. The media who only reports on startups once they’ve secured funding. The general public who reads only what they’re told to read in headlines because it’s easy and they have their own jobs, kids, and bills.

A self-fulfilling flywheel that keeps us locked in the same groupthink, the same social circles, the same belief and political systems, and the same inhuman technologies. “Hey guys, VR is going to be big.” Okay, and…

No scientist can invent something today, upload a diagram, a paragraph, and some meaning about it’s commercial benefit, then have that message go out to 100,000 investor’s inboxes all in the same day.

It’s like in the 90s saying you’re investing in search companies but not saying what is going to make the difference in why people would chose one search engine over the other. It’s still making Google monopoly money to this day.

But how do you predict that product before its been made so you know what you’re looking for and you don’t even need deal flow? You just say “Is anyone out there working on this, and can you prove that it works? If so, email me a video.” And you have someone on staff watch videos all day. Or, you just go build the damn thing yourself.

That, to me, is the future of Angel Investing and Venture Capital. You see the future, you tell someone else exactly what to build and you will fund it, or you go build it yourself. It’s kind of the Elon approach.

How does one do this? You need to lay out an entire product strategy and go-to-market plan before you ever take one meeting. That’s what I’ve scratched the surface of here and will be delving deeper into over the coming year.

You won’t see these on any trend list or predictions of 2017 because most people and media organizations can’t see past the startups that are already in existence. It takes a different mindset to productize the future. Not the groupthink one, rather the one that really matters because it changes things. This isn’t a prediction or some futurist take. It’s something that will, or needs to, exist. Because each of these will exist as a platform, that will enable others to use them for their own creations or businesses.

  1. Video as an App
  2. Music as a Control Mechanism
  3. Biologic Intelligence Disrupting AI
  4. Space as a SAAS Platform
  5. Automatic Health Optimization
  6. Personal Hedge Fund
  7. Personal Power Stations
  8. Self-Organizing Biorobotics
  9. Autonomous Internet of Things
  10. Reality Retail
  11. Interstellar Sports Wearables
  12. Superhuman Modifications

At this point you might be asking how we know this fundamental frailty of the current system and why we’re giving this information away for free publicly. The most basic, and real answer, is that we have existed in this gap our entire adult lives. We are the ones who have fallen into these cracks. And we’re not alone. The real rub is that we are the majority.

The new world isn’t being built fast enough because our lemming-like behavior precludes us from realizing it.

The potential for our species is being trapped, held back, and generally ratarding our growth because of two things: belief and budget. You don’t get the latter without a whole lot of the former.

So the real problem that needs to be solved is the ability to prime an entire system on the real productized solution in the shortest amount of time possible, then open the floodgates to a single person realizing his or her unadulterated vision.

This is why Humanizing Tech exists.

“You never change something by fighting the existing reality,” Buckminster Fuller said. “To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

I. Video as an App

Live streaming video operates for two purposes: entertainment and as a sensor. Entertainment is easy to understand. You watch Netflix or YouTube. The sensor part is a bit newer. Self-driving cars use video cameras plus machine learning to detect objects so the car can avoid them or obey traffic signs. Consumer apps like Snapchat use them for “lense” effects over your face. Places like Piksel use them to break videos down into scenes, understand a story’s plot, in addition to characters, actors, and objects in the video.

But the app part is something no one has talked about yet. This is a new, 3rd area. We can describe it better with our review of Apple’s CarPlay. What you see on the car’s dash, that looks like iOS, isn’t actually an app. What you’re touching and interacting with is really an H.264 live video stream from the iPhone to the car’s infotainment system. You touch the part of the car’s display where it shows a music icon, and when you do that, the car sends a signal down through the wire tethered to your iPhone (or over Bluetooth) to open the Music app on your iPhone in the background. You, the human, are interacting with a live video. An iPhone, the tech, is running software behind it to manage the experience.

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II. Music as a Control Mechanism

Since the dawn of man, we’ve been making sounds as a way to communicate stories, energize us, and feel certain ways. The Scots used bagpipes and drums as a rallying force for their military. We use our respective national anthems as a generative call for patriotism. Even EDM and hip-hop or ballads from the 70s make us tap our feet, order bottle service, and empower everyone to lose themselves in the music.

If you break down the raw components of music, it’s nothing more than vibration at a certain frequency. Get the combinations of vibrations right and you hack the human body. Not just in moving oneself (we colloquially call it dancing), but in unison (line dancing anyone?).

Every musician, artist, and composer for hundreds of years had made music for a purpose. Sometimes to unite, sometimes to profit, sometimes to simple be famous.

But very few have used it as a control mechanism. Not just to control your foot tapping along to the beat, but to control your actions and beliefs. Imagine if the Grammy awards weren’t just for catchy tunes or the ability to create a collection of them into an entire album, but rather awarded those things that forced a purposeful change.

What if Drake’s next album was a series of tracks that weren’t just about girls, glamour, and gold, but rather operated as a series of musical instructions for how to live your life, hacks to create something never before invented? What if instead, it used music as a platform that enabled you to do something with it, rather than a purchasable item.

The real fun, here, is when you extend beyond music and into the world of movies. The power of story has the ability to reshape a culture, history, and humanity. One movie can change the world.

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III. Biologic Intelligence Disrupting AI

Using the hard neuroscience of a Connectome to develop intelligence software is an inevitability. It’s just some people don’t know that it is possible yet. And so they focus on the same methodology that the rest of the industry is using. That’s why you see so many people in tech circles talking about and creating tutorials for machine learning and deep learning.

It works well for single, simple things. But it doesn’t work for complex, messy things. And if there’s one thing about this universe we live in that we all agree on, it’s that it’s chaotic and difficult to understand.

There’s a reason it took nature 13.5 billion years to develop biologic intelligence on the planet earth. It’s because the precisely tuned, connected, and refined organism that is a human being, can’t be created using a series of mathematical equations.

Eventually Deep Learning will get closer and closer to the biologic architecture of intelligence until they become one and the same. Will the people still call it “deep learning” when the way its built and how it works has fundamentally changed? Probably not because there’s a lot of investment, ego, and agency bias. But regardless of what you call it, it doesn’t stop the inevitable from happening.

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IV. Space as a SAAS Platform

SpaceX and Blue Origin exist for one purpose. To transport things into space quickly and cheaply. Rocket launches happen every 15 minutes and it costs $10/pound of payload.

When that happens, it will feel very similar to the Dot Com boom of the late 90s. The internet enabled new ways of thinking, new businesses, and new entrepreneurs. Mobile did something strikingly similar, but better, because it existed on the infrastructure of the internet that had come before it.

The key word here is infrastructure. Just like the internet enabled access for everyday people, these cheap space transportation “pipes” will enable access for everyday people.

Sure, tourism will be one part of it, but arguably be incredibly tiny. We believe that manufacturing and shipping from Space will be the Amazon and China of the future. The race to own that is just getting started. When we mine raw materials from the asteroid belt, have autonomous robots putting together the materials they need, and enable quick and easy transportation to anywhere in the world, things will get very interesting.

We’ve been speaking with a few folks in this area who are already making the rounds speaking at industry conferences and creating the beginnings of a platform-like organization for connecting these things in the future. More on that will come in 2017.

When we unlock cheap space access, it will be the next gold rush. But these miners of the future will need to be preparing for years before that point to take advantage of it.

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V. Automatic Health Optimization

Our medical care system is archaic. Neanderthalic at best. We physically rip into the human body, cut out and sew organic tissue back together, and feed ourselves chemicals with more side effects than benefits. We’re like a caveman feeling around in the dark before discovering fire.

Transformative health care of the future looks nothing like present-day surgery. CRISPR edits your genes. Smart dust repairs your body as it becomes damaged. Both level up our immune systems to superhuman abilities.

Why do we even need a health care system if we are all work like Wolverine’s self-healing bodies.

Many innovations need to happen to get to that place, but much of the science already exists. It only requires that we pay attention, believe, fund, and get out of the way of those with the drive.

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VI. Personal Hedge Fund

This is something we like to call The Base Code. Mutual funds were created in the 1970s to enable everyday people an easier way to invest for their financial future. 401(k)s let corporations remove their requirement for funded pension plans, they only had to do a small match of what the employee invested.

So who made all the money from this new system? The mutual fund managers who took a percentage fee regardless of whether the stock market went up or down. You paid them regardless.

Hedge funds work similarly, but they take 2% as a “management fee” and then another hefty 20% of any profits they create. So even if you’re not a normal working middle class, but rather one of the 1%, you’re still giving up a huge portion of returns for a few people who’s job it is to make a decision.

That’s it. Decide what to buy, when to buy it, and when to sell it.

That’s why many of the world’s wealthiest people, pension funds, and corporations have all moved to investing in startups. Over time it has the best and most likely success of producing outsized returns. But guess what. You still pay a fee to the VCs who do all the “heavy lifting” of, again, making decisions.

They decide what startup to invest in, when to invest, and push for an exit within the fund’s 10-year window.

But what if you could make that entire system obsolete in a single swoop? Read the opening remarks at the beginning of this report for more on how this system is broken.

You can do this yourself. You don’t need an expert. You are the expert, in something. You just don’t give yourself enough credit, or pay attention to it, because you think everyone knows what you know.

I made a return of +50% in 2016 because I recognized one of the thesis in this report before anyone else. It’s not rocket science. It just requires that you read.

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VII. Personal Power Stations

Today we get our energy from The Grid. Not in the Tron sense of the word, but in the electrical power stations sense. Tesla’s AC induction motor (not the car company, the man) allowed us to transmit electricity across vast distances.

But how does one generate that electricity? We burn fossil fuels like oil or coal or try to go green with wind, water, and solar power. Solar, for the first time, now costs less than wind at generating electricity and is cheaper than fossil fuels in 60 countries.

In emerging markets, we already see humans taking matters into their own hands. They have only a few dollars, enough to buy a small solar panel, a crappy flip phone, and a tiny data package, all while living in a self-made hut with dirt floors.

These people are cutting edge futurists. They are generating their own electricity from that giant fusion reactor in the sky. Taken further, as we harness our own motion, movement, and forces we enact throughout the day, we will begin charging our own devices with the energy produced from our own bodies.

We also know that we can now begin mimicking biologic photosynthesis with man-made methods.

One of our contributors is an expert in the solar business and will be providing detailed cost break-downs for Fountainhead Members only.

All of this adds up to a future where we’re no longer reliant on a heavily regulated governmental system to give us the most basic components of our every day life’s infrastructure. Energy.

We can create it ourselves, on demand, exactly when we need it.

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VIII. Self-Organizing Biorobotics

If you believe the stories, man was created in something’s image. And thus, we humans create in our own image. As we move into a future of soft robotics that look, feel, and move more organically than the traditional concept of robots from the danger-filled days of Will Robinson, we will begin to see the err in own our thinking.

No longer do robots have to be single pieces of hard metal soldered and rivited together to create a humanoid form. No, when we expand our mind, we see that we just need a collection of microbots that, when controlled by your own thoughts, self-organize to form any shape or object for any purpose.

Need to open a door? Organize into a hand with an opposable thumb. Need to get from place A to B? Organize into a conveyor belt that transfers you there or a magic carpet drone. Need to hammer something into place? Organize into a hammer.

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IX. Autonomous Internet of Things

Self-driving cars are only the beginning. People immediately go to self-flying cars and drones, but there’s also the other industries that most don’t consider like lawn mowing and mining operations that can benefit tremendously from the methods employed by Biologic Intelligence.

Once you have sensors, lots and lots of sensors, all operating in real-time collecting data, you can use that information to do wonderous things.

We typically think of IoT as a smart toaster or fridge that’s static. It doesn’t move. It’s just connected to the internet to make your toast in the morning once you get out of bed, start a cup of coffee and re-order milk automatically when you’re out.

But you know that’s not really it, right? Our future isn’t about automatically switching on lights or some Jarvis system that Zuck and Gates have been trying to build for a year and 20 years, respectively.

No, we only need to look at the thesis of self-organizing biorobotics to understand how our objects of the future will change. Internet of Things is only a pit stop on the road to that end.

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X. Reality Retail

Amazon and Alibaba have popularized and scaled ecommerce to new heights never-before imagined. Find anything you want with a few keystrokes, a few more purchases it, and sometimes you get it magically delivered to you the same day. You don’t have to do anything but hold this pocket supercomputer in your hand.

But that’s still shopping from home or work in a traditional sense. You’re window shopping just like you would if you were walking through the mall. The only difference is that it’s your mind moving through a digital world rather than your body moving through a physical world.

Retail of the future, knowing Millennials because I still am one, will be about experiences. Pundits throw around those words like candy, but the reality is that kids want to go live their lives, unconstrained. Teenagers don’t change, only their technologies do.

When kids go to pop-up shops and festivals of the future, they get primed with a certain mindset and a certain feeling. The most successful retailers of the future won’t be doing online re-targeting nor buying Google search ads. Instead they will place their physical products in the line of sight of this massive buying population at real-world events.

For example, you’re much more likely to buy a team’s baseball hat for $40 when you’re at the stadium watching the game. That’s this, only at massive scale.

You buy tickets to a festival where your favorite musicians are playing and we’ll just happen to have Spectacles kiosks littered throughout the grounds. Snap advertises their physical product at the event, not through online web banners.

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XI. Interstellar Sports Wearables

Athletes make great astronauts. It’s just nobody’s ever said it out loud before. They work well in a team, they have gobs of grit, they aren’t afraid of getting hurt, and you the stigma of not being book smart can be replaced by real-world physical agility intelligence. Or, in Biologic Intelligence aspects, “motor output” of the Connectome.

From Nike Space Shoes to self-repairable and self-cleaning clothing that hugs the body while protecting it from cosmic radiation and the harsh climate of space, our space suits of the future might look a lot closer to compression gear worn by the world’s top athletes.

Even if you don’t believe that’s the future, realize today’s trend of remote and stay-at-home workers “living their life in Nike” as the catalyst for attention. From the moment these people wake up, work throughout the day, run errands, go to the gym, and go to bed at night, Nike is a stand-in for comfortable, do everything clothing that replaces pajamas, business formal and weekend wear.

Imagine if Nike gave you a share of stock every time you bought a pair of Flyknits and a workout shirt. Their stock price has been around $50 for years, and it turns into its own rewards platform. You, the customer, are now a proud owner of the company, incentivized to do the marketing on behalf of Nike for free. You tell your friends. You’re more likely to buy the next piece of athletic wear from them, and more likely to wear the clothes around town.

Still think we’re crazy? T-Mobile is already giving away a share of stock for becoming a customer.

That one insight could single-handedly add billions of dollars to Nike or Under Armour’s market cap. And once they start making space travel apparel for tourism or pleasure, it could be more like trillions.

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XII. Superhuman Modifications

We’ll be writing about this more in 2017, but we’re beginning to see the emergence of augmented reality wearables that increase our sensory perception to superhuman levels. The first is Apple’s AirPods for superhuman hearing for isolating conversations.

After that comes Neural Laces and biohacking. Taken together, a world of exoskeleton form-fitting Nike gear that’s actually a collection of microbots, enabling new superhero powers like Superman and self-healing powers like Wolverine.

We will level up technology at the same rate we level up ourselves.

Of course, the real problem here is what happens when the haves and have nots are no longer separated by just money, but also by superpowers.

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Now, what I want you to imagine, is that all of these things happen together, in unison, at the same time. The sheer force of that kind of rapid change. What would it do to our world? What would it do to your everyday life?

My name is not Ishmael. But call me Curious.