This is such an exciting time to be a technology investor. And we have a lot to look forward to in 2020.
As we look forward, I’d like to share with you my top five predictions for the world of high technology.
Let’s jump right in…
Prediction No. 1: A Tidal Wave of 5G Devices
My first prediction has to do with 5G wireless networks. As a quick refresher, 5G is the next generation of wireless network technology. And as my longtime readers know, 5G will average speeds that are 100 times faster than 4G networks. 5G will also have incredibly low latency, or delay.
In 2019, we saw the first 5G-enabled smartphones go up for sale. There are now 10 different brands of 5G smartphones available for purchase.
But in 2020, I predict we will far exceed even the most optimistic projections for shipments of 5G devices. The current forecast is that there will be about 300 million 5G-enabled handsets sold. But that number is far too low.
In December 2019, Apple reached out to its suppliers to increase its manufacturing numbers in preparation for the 5G-enabled iPhone launch, which we expect to come in September.
Apple told suppliers that it now expects to ship more than 100 million 5G-enabled iPhones. That’s up from the company’s previous projection of 80 million 5G iPhones.
And keep in mind that Apple only has about 12–13% of global market share for smartphones.
My point is that if Apple plans to sell 100 million 5G iPhones, how many 5G devices will Samsung, LG, Huawei, and the other big global manufacturers sell?
Mark my words. Sales of 5G phones will far surpass 300 million. There will be a tidal wave of 5G devices in 2020.
Prediction No. 2: Buy Your Own Self-Driving Car
My second prediction is that 2020 will finally be the year that we will be able to buy or lease our own fully autonomous car. I’m talking about a self-driving car you can buy or lease for your own personal use. It will be able to take you from point A to point B. And the car will drive 99% of the way by itself.
I’ve been covering the development of self-driving cars extensively. And 2020 will finally be the year when they go mainstream.
Remember that self-driving vehicles rely on artificial intelligence. They must “learn” how to be safe drivers. And the underlying semiconductor technology used for AI will double in power over the next 12 months. The amount of data that’s being collected from fully autonomous vehicles will more than double year-over-year.
And the AI algorithms – the software that makes self-driving cars possible – are improving significantly every month. So, the AI algorithms won’t be twice as good from 2019 to 2020. They’ll be about five times as good as what we have today.
That means we’re getting to the point where these cars are essentially fully autonomous. It’s just a matter of time before a company puts one of these cars up for sale. I believe that will happen in 2020.
We’ll have to wait and see which company it is. But Tesla would be a prime candidate.
Prediction No. 3: CRISPR Will Cure Five Diseases
On to prediction No. 3. This prediction has to do with CRISPR genetic editing technology.
As a reminder, CRISPR can edit our DNA as if it were software. It can fix – or edit – any mutations in our genetic code that can cause disease.
In November, I attended a biotech conference, the 2019 STAT Summit. One of the most incredible presentations at the event came from Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) CEO Jeffrey Leiden.
Vertex has been working with CRISPR Therapeutics (CRSP) on a therapy for sickle cell disease and beta thalassemia. Bad mutations in the hemoglobin gene cause these blood disorders. The therapy is CTX001.
And Leiden stated directly, “We have essentially cured these diseases. We have cracked the biology of sickle cell and beta [thalassemia].”
Of course, it is not FDA approved yet. The next step for Vertex is to expand the clinical trials to another 45 patients. I’m expecting identical results compared to the first two patients.
But going off Leiden’s comments, it appears CRISPR technology has cured these diseases caused by genetic mutations.
I predict that CRISPR will cure at least five more diseases caused by genetic mutations in 2020.
To be clear, I don’t expect that five therapies will be approved by the FDA in 2020. But I believe at least five CRISPR therapies will demonstrate in either preclinical or clinical trials that they have cured the diseases they were meant to cure.
I think it goes without saying that I’m very bullish on CRISPR and the biotech space for this year. Expect to hear more in the coming months.
Prediction No. 4: China’s State-Backed Crypto
For prediction No. 4, we turn to the world of blockchain and digital assets.
As I write this, China is preparing to launch a digital version of the renminbi – its currency – in the next few weeks. That’s my next prediction for 2020. I believe China will launch a digital version of its currency sometime this year.
To be clear, this cryptocurrency won’t be backed by China’s currency. It will be China’s currency.
And this could serve as a major wake-up call for the United States, which has been slow to adopt this technology. But if, in the months after launch, the digital renminbi is widely adopted and used, then it will absolutely light a fire under the U.S. to do the same.
Mark my words. The age of fiat currency is coming to an end…
Prediction No. 5: Quantum Computers Will Become Unstoppable
In September of 2019, we reached the point of quantum supremacy.
That’s the point at which a quantum computer can outperform the most powerful classical supercomputer on Earth. Here’s what happened…
Google ran tests on its 53-qubit quantum computer. In those tests, it gave the quantum computer a task that would take the world’s most powerful supercomputer, Summit, 10,000 years to complete.
The quantum computer finished in three minutes and 20 seconds. Beyond amazing.
Now, Google’s quantum computer had 53 qubits. We don’t need to worry about the specifics too much. Just know that we can associate the number of qubits with the power of the quantum computer. The more qubits, the more quantum computing power there is.
Here’s my final prediction for 2020…
The world will see its first 256-qubit quantum computer. And I’ll tell you why that’s important.
When people refer to military-grade encryption, it’s called 256-bit encryption. That’s the standard for security and encryption technology.
But the moment you have a 256-qubit quantum computer, you can crack that encryption software in milliseconds. It’s over…
I predict we will reach that point in 2020.
Obviously, the cybersecurity company that can address this problem would be a great investment target. I’m actively searching for such a company.
So just to conclude, if you thought 2019 was interesting for the world of technology, just wait. I for one can’t wait to see what this year holds.
Chief Technology Analyst, Bonner & Partners