The revolution in science and technology has once again reached a critical point that will drive the next wave of wealth creation but also signals the demise of all wealth, exposing the vulnerability of the wealthy, opening corporate assets to be taken and national wealth to be eroded, unless it is adequately protected.
In a sense this article is a WARNING, in another, it is a demonstration of what you do not know…
This article is about the parallel paths to protect wealth, while taking advantage of new wealth creation opportunities… With Family Offices and UHNW shifting their portfolio strategies towards a technology bias, they have not fully grasped the extent of what is really going on, and how the fundamentals of technology itself have already changed.
So here we are at a cross-roads as I reflect on the Deep Tech presentation I delivered at the worlds largest Family Office Summit in Monaco in June, which demonstrated how much the families, investor community and high net worth people don’t know, and why a large percentage will lose everything as this new cycle arrives…
Fourth Wealth Creation Revolution
And I already know you are not ready…
The Fourth Wealth Revolution is here, not to be confused with the Internet of Things (“IoT”) and Robotic Processing Automation often referred to as 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR). This is to do with wealth creation cycles that through history define the opportunity to create new wealth, a technique where the greatest fortunes by industrialists, investors and entrepreneurs have been made.
At first there was steam that laid the foundations to the Industrial Revolution where the likes of Andre Carnegie was to steel what Cornelius Vanderbuilt was to railways, amassed considerable fortunes because they spotted the wealth creation opportunities.
Then electricity arrived giving us the Electric Revolution, of lighting and labor saving devices, from which John D Rockerfeller probably the wealthiest person ever (from oil) and of course Henry Ford, that later forced the crucial cross-over between two types of horse power.
Then transistors enabled technology advances, creating the ‘Digital Revolution’ in which the likes of Gates, Ma and Bezos have built a modern fortune on who’s tech, messers Amancio Ortega Goana (Zara) and Karl Albrecht have (Aldi) have built empires, all using the classical technology we have today.
Scenario: The Fourth Wealth Creation opportunity has just pulled into the station. So what are you going to do?
We have Artificial Intelligence, NanoTech and a BioTech smaller yet significant Revolutions, supported by the most disruptive of them all, Quantum theories that has created the Quantum Computing Revolution.
Lets say it again. Quantum Computing is the most profound Wealth Creation Revolution ever! By and order of magnitude x1m and has the potnetial spurn a new generation of multi-trillionaires. It is this event horizon that is unlocking new opportunities, but comes with a WARNING as at the same time it is also the biggest direct threat to all existing wealth
Creating new wealth?
With Quantum Theories and Algorithms we can begin to understand the world around us, and accelerate everything from healthcare, medicines, transportation, food production, energy and recycling, colonising space and the list goes on… There is nothing we cannot contemplate.
At a basic level the achilles heel is simple: I can undo any encryption and cyber security system on the planet because Quantum Computers introduces the realm of massively parallel computing power, hundreds of thousands of times, if not millions of times more powerful than classical silicon based computers we have today.
We are witnessing the demise of Moore’s Law on which any silicon based computing, and the protection of your wealth is apparently secured, is now rendered completely useless.
Silicon based computers have reached their physical limitations as the wafer layers within the chip containing tiny circuits and transistors, are now just a few molecules across. Which itself signals we are entering the world of Quantum Physics, as we arrive at the particle, the molecular level of photons and electrons which are the very building blocks of life itself.
Here is the challenge. Try factorizing this!
The limit of Classical Computing and humankind is calculus.
“What two numbers will generate a long 617 number output?”
Why is this important?
Simply put all cyber security systems, and other forms of secure systems that are used to defend your assets, your data and to stop people intercepting your transactions and messages are based on one fact. The inability to factorize large numbers, given the limitations of classical computers, would take millions of years. So the basis of our protection so far has been the use of simple maths to protect things only because there is insufficient computing power to find the relationships between large numbers. Despite some very useful algorithms, the issue remains the computing speed of silicon chips, rely on O’s and 1’s (a binary machine code language) that processing things in sequentially, and this is the problem. As this takes a very long time.
I would bet you didn’t realise the entire Cyber Security industry relies on the poor performance of todays classical computers as the only defence?
And now that advantage has gone..!
For decades mathematicians, physicists, computer scientists have been struggling with factorizing large numbers to advance science, physics and computer science, so called Hard Problems. To process larger and larger numbers that have maybe 300 or 600 characters long, or enormous chemical equations and structures, multiplied by other large numbers, or matched to huge data set, to find the multiplier or integral (absolute integer), can take millions if not billions of years to compute.
IMPORTANT: It is this inefficiency of processing is all that stands between a hacker and your wealth, your bonds, cash, deeds, wills, gold, investments…
Now to the good news. Imagine what you can achieve with computing power millions of times faster? Giving you the answers to the worlds Hard Problems in seconds! The ultimate competitive advantage of what?
How could you use this advantage — to analyse financial markets and decisions, get behind breakthroughs in new drugs and creating new proulsion systems, increasing longevity…by default unlocks many new Wealth Creation opportunities. Technically no longer first mover but first to win!
We can at last find out how the world around us really works, we can understand it, we can prevent starvation, cure deceases and extend life by sequencing genomes; we can work out complex chemicals reactions, or find the most efficient drug combinations to treat a disease, each requiring computing power far beyond what we have access to until now.
A demonstration of absolute power…
What if I told you factorizing a 617 character number in the picture above using conventional computers would take an estimated 1 billion years. And that using a Quantum Computer you can get the answer in seconds?
I hope you get the point of what I am saying… The quantum of the advancement is so staggering it is hard to comprehend, and we have had 100 years to prove the science actually works…
Remember the only defence for protecting your wealth has been our inability to process large numbers and data sets. But it gets worse. With Quantum Computing supporting AI (Quantum AI), it is also possible to generate pure random numbers, for the first time.
What if the machines create things we humans cannot crack, such as a Quantum Key that doesn’t allow human access. What if the AI steals your wealth because it has been told to? What them? Who do the cops visit?
Unfortunately Quantum exposes the raw underbelly with ‘man made’everything, rendering algorithms created by a man utterly useless, because Quantum AI can find the pathway back, it easily finds patterns in the data, and in the case of encryption, will find the Key in seconds. How?
By using massively paralleled computing that is native to Quantum Computers it can easily factorize the 617 number above. The next generation computer uses Qubits, the analogue of Bits used by silicon processors, that store a 0 (Zero) or a 1 (One), where a Qubit can exist and be both a 0 and 1 at the same time.
Many people ask me how Quantum actually works but suffice to say we stand to attention looking at a new frontier of everything. For the first time in human history we are about to make a massive leap forward, as many things we thought we understood are redefined as they are, as the brakes completely come off science.
Think of Quantum like this.
With the advent of the micron scale (micro-scopes that can see down to the molecules, photons and electrons), we can for the first time begin to understand how nature and life works, but have been unable to compute, and therefore cannot fully understand what we are seeing and what is going on. All we can do is simulate it, have a few sensible guesses and postulate what is or might be.
Chemical compounds, enzymes, proteins and other substances we know exist, as we can see them, as we peel back the layers we can see electrons, photons in action and understand the behaviours, that make up the composition of things. Bits of information and combinations that are so completely massive, the computational requirement to process and understand cannot be considered.
So to answer the question: What is the opportunity and threat of Quantum Computing, it is the soltuion to understanding what is happening all around us? Until now we can only consider life, nature and the world as we think it is but not as it really is.
Hopefully you are are still with me on this. A great example is how plants use photosynthesis to turn sunlight when it hits a leaf into energy. A seemingly simple process classical computers cannot compute in a thousand generations. A Quantum Computer unlock these secrets in a few minutes.
It is mind boggling and somewhat scary to think where humankind will go with this technology, given our track record.
So the answer to factoizing the 617 number is a little under 2 minutes. Quicker than boiling a kettle.
All at Once
It is worth remembering we have arrived at an All at Once period humankind has never experienced before, and we have no clue how it will play out. The impact of the Internet was profound on many levels, as was electricity, and transistors, even the smart phone and now Blockchain. So many new generations of tech, and the coolest things have arrived — Augmented Reality, IoT, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, BioTech, Immersive Experiences, Nanotech that in combination with other Deep Tech, will deliver significant outcomes, opportunities and advance all of us in new and exciting ways.
But when you add a dose of Quantum Computing to these profound technologies at a base layer of unlimited computing power, and you will get a 1million X acceleration of everything. A Quantum Jump so significant will push the existential risk of Quantum AI offering us two paths. A path to conquering the stars, or according to Nick Bostrum, a path to a SuperIntelligent oblivion.
Most people regardless of wealth and the amount of assets they hold simply do not understand the barriers to solving Hard Problems. Problems that are unlikely to appear on ones radar as they cannot be realised using a classical computer lens, but they can be identified, and applying what we know about Quantum Computing, they can be unlocked, solved and monetised.
New commercial Wealth Creation opportunities appear as we ourselves re-define the Hard Problem around new parameters, knowing we can get the answers on our terms quickly. Where do you start?
A cure for Alzheimers, Diabetes, a Zero Emission Fuel, how to Extend Life itself, and then it will be a race to find the answer and bring it to market, and hopefully sharing the benefits for humanity, or doing bad as the choices in a Quantum world co-exist.
Your secrets are my secrets
With a Quantum Computer I can undo, unpick and hack any security system that relies on large numbers and patterns. So that would be all of them. Even BioMetrics rely on converting human attributes into number streams. I can process huge numbers and do not need a Key, as I can get my own key in seconds. So the shortcomings of classical computing cannot be used as a security defense any more.
You are now left completely open, naked and defenceless.
Simply put your iPhone used to have 4 number security access, as having one number security would give your hacker up to 10 attempts to find the single digit answer. Then 4 numbers deliver up to 10,000 attempts, so Apple have moves to 6 digits which equates to 1 million attempts, and by then have spent years of your life trying. But the sucurity layer principle is simple.
A Quantum Computer processes numbers in new ways using what are known as superpositions and entanglement that together delivers massively parallel processing in a ‘probabilistic’ way, handling multiples states at the same time, shortening processing times from millions of years to a few seconds. It is hard to fathom and I agree sounds mad. It is tempting to go a little deeper into Quantum, but suffice to say my next article on Quantum based AI will go much deeper and will more than likely scare the pants off you.
“To know and not to do, is really not to know”… (Stephen Covey)
One of my favourite quotes from the genius Stephen Covey. So I have given you this information what are you going to do with it?
I have spent the last 42 years in technology and have a computer science background, although I am not a geek. I did learn to program in machine code in the late 1970’s and early 80’s and we had fun blowing our own chips sets that solved problems, and yes I dealt with Boolean algebra. At the time as a teenager, as with all these things, I did realised how relevant that would be to understanding Quantum some 4 decades later.
My focus had always been designing solutions with the latest technology to solve business problems. Then a few years back I discovered first Quantum Computer had been built and everything I thought I knew about processing data fell away. I spent the past few years researching Quantum Theories and how Quantum computers work. Although it is early and very complex, I discovered there are as with most new horizons several approaches one can use to building a Quantum Computer (Superconductors, Photons, Trapped IONs and yes Diamonds), and yes there are no standards, compilers and operating systems yet, but all are in production and when they arrive Quantum will become the only path for everything…
Problem for Blockchain
Since 2012 I have been designing and building Blockchains and combining this with other Deep Tech all of which relied upon a range of encryption protocols, (elliptic curve amongst others), based on the concept you can guess of using long numbers. For Bitcoin to send and receive stores of value (BTC) to addresses that contain between 26–35 numeric numbers, the transactions are used in combination with longish number that behaves as a Key (private key), normally a 256 Bit alpha numeric hexadecimal string or 64 characters A-Z and 0–9. Even at this level of essentially factorizing these smallish numbers, without a Key is practically impossible. And why if you lose your Key you lose your Bitcoins or other digital assets, because they cannot be recalculated.
Now that Quantum renders encryption useless we are working on Quantum Blockchains and building a new defensive layer. Although Quantum is not generally available for commercial use, it is however very, very close and last month IBM announced you can rent time on their machine to test some stuff.
Houston we have the mother of all problems…
So we have been led to believe and an entire cyber security industry has spawned convincing everyone they have what it takes to protect our data from cybercrime, hackers and attack. To find out none of this matters anyway, because the very thing used to defend is now completely useless.
It was only a matter of time before something like Quantum theory, which has been around for 100 years, since Max Planks ‘Wave Theory’, would it become a practical reality. It was this revelation that prompted my journey to take a deeper look at Quantum Mechanics, having previously wrestled with the precise and boring nature of physics as non probabilistic in terms of outcomes, I actually found Quantum Theory sits more comfortably because it deals with random positions, and I like random.
A Suitable Response
There is little time to respond adequately to defend wealth and create new wealth opportunities. Today there are few technically genius options to defend against the inevitable Quantum onslaught.
Quantum Computers do require new instructions to get the most out of Qubits which defines to core of how they process vast amounts of numbers and data, requiring operating systems and refined algorithms as a basis to enable a new generation of applications. But then again I could simply ask it to hack your large numbers to find the Key and way in. Simples!
We the best minds of our generation working on Quantum, most of which is happening in stealth mode that will soon to become visible.
Please keep in mind as I revealled during my Deep Tech Investing talk at the Family Office Summit in Monaco in June, that Big Tech companies are already starting to dominate this space. The most active in M&A, literally hoovering up every AI and Quantum company they can find, with the hidden intention to become demigods in the sense of wanting to control us all, something they will have the means to do if they corner Quantum Computing. Not a happy thought.
This is the fundamental agenda for the next decade…the challenge will be finding the experts to advise and guide private wealth and capital. Experts that can keep a secret and help defend as well as create new wealth opportunities, and they aint coming from the traditional VC, Wealth Management and the Investment Advisory industry…
What next…
When you spend time with Family Offices that have managed and look after their wealth for generations, it is intersting to witness how they react to being told about Quantum Computing. Starting with “surely not”. Or that it is “science fiction”. Or “why hasn’t my bank or wealth manager told me about this”.
They are incredulous, they cannot process it, they have natural hesitation and their standard operating position of conservatism takes over. They immediately start believing they have time which I explain becomes the fastest way to lose everything.
The banks are themselves trying to solve the problem knowing all their global systems are effectively now wide open, which places IBM in an interesting position, given they have one of the first Quantum Computers operational.
The banks know that unless they create a solution that deals with Quantum Computing they are doomed, but they don’t want to start a panic or a run on the bank, so they keep silent. But they see the threat and they aren’t telling.
Families and UHNW will claim the companies they have invested in, the companies and assets they own have the best security systems and thus they are well protected. They try to justify to themselves that because they have spent millions on the best cyber security money can buy, have a great CTO and are advised by experts all is well. So when I explain the reality of the situation it hurts, they feel aggrieved and vulnerable at the same time, as I am often the one who brings a different version of computer science reality.
Very few people saw this coming, yet the principles of Quantum Mechanics have been around since the 19th century, yet there is still some time to respond. But how much time we are not certain as the race to build the worlds largest Quantum Computes is on with IBM, Google and many others backed by nations, military, secret services are spending billion on this already. Like developing and advancing AI, coming second isn’t a good place.
Quantum Time always shortens
How long before someone gets their hands on your wealth and your assets? Months maybe… You don’t have years as the first Quantum Computers are built, and working. Fortunately they are small in terms of Qubit processing power relatively speaking, operating within the realms of the most powerful classical computer equivalents.
The first tipping point is 108 Qubits where we enter new territory, then comes 1,000 and then 1million and then 100million…as AI helps deliver exponential Super Intelligence by 2025–2030, it may already be game over.
The problem is when Quantum gets help from AI the rate of advancement and progress cannot be defined, remembering Alpha Zero trouncing Alpha Go 100–0 exponentially learning everything and more in 4 months…
There are things you need to do right away. It is possible to implement Quantum technologies as an initial protection layer, while building a creating a strategy to take advantage of this new Wealth Revolution opportunity. The good news if you start now you can be right at the beginning, if you ignore it, you will be left behind and you stand to lose everything.
Your wealth remains vulnerable. Yet we are also at the first stage of the biggest Wealth Creation opportunity in history.
How you play your hand will be critical to your future and your legacy.
“Ignorance is Tested” do not bury your head and think it won’t happen to you. As it already is…
To get help with understanding your vulnerabilities, improve your knowledge and therefore develop some strategic options get in touch.
© Copyright 2019 Nick Ayton