The financial crash of 2008 seems to be more and more just a distant memory, house prices are rising at a healthy pace, the US has the lowest jobless rate in decades, and the EU economy has finally started to grow, but most excitingly, there are numerous breakthrough technologies that are predicted to change our world.
Ground-breaking technologies are a way to wealth, but not all are worth investing in.
Here then, are the top 5 technologies that promise to impact our world but are unlikely to give small to medium-sized investors a good return.
Self-driving Cars & Trucks
Forbes magazine predicted in March 2017 that by 2020 there will be 10 million driverless cars on the roads, while research by IHS Markit shows that, “By 2040 nearly 26% of new vehicles sold worldwide -- or 33 million vehicles -- will be fully autonomous.”
The convenience, the added safety, the ability to read, sleep, eat, or drink alcohol whilst being driven makes investing in self-driving cars seem like a sure-fire win. Especially given that there are currently 1.4 billion cars on the planet.
Except for two big drawbacks:
1. Most of the leading firms are massive corporations who do not need smaller investors to bring their products to market.
As investing website Motley Fool, notes, “Nearly every major automaker in the U.S. and abroad is already testing driverless cars.”
A look at the names of companies investing in driverless cars shows that there is already plenty of money being spent on research, development, and readiness for production. Alphabet (Google’s parent company), Ford, GM, Lyft (the ride sharing company valued at $15 billion), Aptiv ($25 billion market cap), and so the list goes on.
2. Market research shows that people are still reluctant to use self-driving cars.
As the online investment portal, Venture Beat, notes, “In a pair of surveys published by the American Automobile Association in January and Gallup in May, 63 percent of people reported feeling afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle and more than half said they’d never choose to ride in one.”
Commercial Space Flight
Like automated cars, commercial space travel has great potential: space tourism, lunar mining, 4-hour travel time from London to Sydney, etc.
Factor in the increasing number of satellites (where the current pricefor placing a 1kg payload in orbit is $22,000), and commercial space flight may seem like a good investment.
Unfortunately, it has a similar drawback to driverless cars; vast sums of money already invested. Think: Virgin Galactic, Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin, Boeing, Orbital ATK, the Sierra Nevada Corporation, and of course NASA, plus the national space agencies of Japan, China, the EU, and Russia, and the total research budget is already in the billions.
Does this technology need any more funding?
As modern computing has improved, with lighter batteries and smaller processors, it has become possible to make many everyday items do more than originally planned. As a result, today’s wearable tech market includes, Smart watches, digital patches, swallow-able electronic health-checkers, Internet connected footwear, and electronic temporary tattoos, to name but a few.
How many of these are purely gimmicks and how many will become gadgets as indispensable as our mobile phones is very difficult to tell.
The unpredictability is due to the simple question of ‘Will people want to wear it?’
I-pod ear plugs – Yes please. Google glass – Err, no thanks.
The greatest challenge for companies hoping to make a breakthrough in robotics, is just how complex and articulate human bodies are. The range of strength, touch sensing, dexterity, know-how, and energy efficiency is truly astonishing when placed next to modern robots.
The skill set required to perform a relatively simple task such as cleaning the toilet (including opening the bottle of toilet cleaner) is decades beyond current robot technology.
Other tasks are already covered by machines in a far simpler method; dishwasher, washing machine, car wash, robotic vacuum cleaners, car assembly plants, etc.
Will we have robots in our homes in our lifetimes?
While newspaper headlines report on the fortunes made over the past 5 years as Bitcoin made its meteoric rise, choosing the next ‘hit’ cybercurrency is a challenge.
At present Investopedia recommends the following, “Litecoin; Dash, ZCash, Ethereum, Ripple, Monero, Neo, Cardano, and EOS.” But also advises that, “Going by the current trend, cryptocurrencies are here to stay but how many of them will emerge as leaders amid the growing competition within the space will only be revealed with time.”
It may seem that this list is too pessimistic, and that few cutting edge inventions are worth the small to medium sized investors time or money. But significantly, there are two breakthrough technologies which will not only change our world, but are also prime for investment, even for smaller sums. Their products are already on the market and yet there is still time to buy-in. They have proven returns for the short term, with excellent prospects for the medium and long-term.
They are blockchain and nanotechnology.
To find out more about why blockchain and nanotechnology make ideal investments read the next article on the Team Trade blog page, 'The Best Two Technologies to Invest In'.
Since 2004, the Prague-based company Team Trade has been using its expertise to supply the raw materials for the industrial production of rubber, plastics, construction, and electronics.
In talks with their customer base, they have begun development of novel applications of nanotube technology with a set market in place. They have also begun receiving investment in preparation of meeting this demand.
If you are interested in knowing more about the work of Team Trade, or if you wish to find out how you can become an investor in their latest project, then contact their investment line on (0042) 233 371 850.
Photo credit: CBInsights, Wbur, Yourstory, Womansday, Space, Engadget, WaterfordWhisperer, & Aimt.