- How to prepare a steak dinner… on Mars
- A world of never-ending battery life is getting closer
- This “stodgy” retail giant is quietly becoming an AI powerhouse
Before we get to today’s insights, something interesting just happened with Uber…
The company announced its third round of layoffs this year. The tech giant is cutting another 1% of its workforce to show a path toward profitability. The latest round of pain will primarily affect its Uber Eats division and the autonomous driving unit.
While Uber taking strong action to restructure is a good thing, reducing investment in potentially the most valuable part of its business – the autonomous driving unit – was the wrong decision.
After all, what’s Uber’s single largest expense in its business? The drivers. How can the company get to profitability quickly? Have the cars drive themselves.
Uber now trades at an enterprise value to sales ratio of 4. We might think it is an attractive buy at these levels. No way.
The company isn’t estimated to generate free cash flow until 2023… And who knows when it will generate a profit. That’s not the kind of company we want to invest in.
But if that ever changes, my readers will be the first to know.
Now let’s turn to today’s insights…
How to 3D print meat in space…
When we last checked in on the International Space Station, a group of scientists was observing self-replicating brain cell clusters. Today, we have more incredible news from space…
A group of Russian cosmonauts just 3D printed meat on the International Space Station. That’s right. These cosmonauts created beef in space – no cow necessary. Here’s how…
Israeli food-tech startup Aleph Farms extracted cells from cows and immersed them in vials of nutrient-rich broth. Then it loaded the vials onto a spacecraft destined for the International Space Station.
Once received, the Russian cosmonauts fed the nurtured cow cells into a 3D printer from a Russian company called 3D Bioprinting Solutions. And the 3D printer successfully produced thin steaks of meat. How’s that for efficient?
This story itself is great, but the implications are incredible.
When we think about space exploration and ultimately the colonization of the Moon or Mars, two of the biggest problems are fuel and food.
We’ve talked about fuel before. Companies like SpaceX are pioneering solutions for powering long-distance spaceflight. And now we have a solution for food…
If we want to establish a manned presence on the Moon and then Mars, we’ll need a sustainable food source. Obviously, large-scale terrestrial farms and livestock aren’t much of an option in space.
So the fact that we can now produce traditional foods in a lab setting is huge. Pioneers will be able to establish colonies on intergalactic soil… while still enjoying a 3D-printed rib eye from time to time. It may not be as good as the real thing, but it’s better than nothing.
Wireless power could make the Internet of Things a reality…
A small venture-backed company called Ossia just received approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for wireless power delivery.
Ossia’s technology broadcasts power over radio frequency waves. Then electronic devices can harness this power to charge their batteries.
This is a technology we’ve been tracking for a while in my Exponential Tech Investor service. What caught my eye about Ossia is that it received FCC approval to deliver power wirelessly up to 15 feet.
And, of course, this is huge when it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT)…
Remember, IoT is when all our everyday objects become “smart.” Everything from traffic lights to your home refrigerator would generate data to be sent over a wireless network.
As we discussed last week, billions of IoT sensors are about to go online. These sensors could measure many things central to our lives.
IoT could monitor traffic patterns… water distribution… waste management… electricity distribution… agricultural conditions… and all kinds of other things. This, in turn, will help us make more informed decisions in virtually all aspects of civil society.
And it’s coming in a big way…
A report out of Stanford University estimates that there will be more than 500 billion IoT devices online by 2030. For context, there are only 7.7 billion people on this planet. That’s how big IoT will be.
But the biggest constraint on IoT has been power. How do we power all these sensors? After all, it isn’t feasible to replace billions of sensor batteries on a regular schedule.
Last week, we explored a photovoltaic solution using an exciting material – perovskite. This is a great solution for sensors with very low power requirements. But Ossia’s approach could transmit more power to sensors that require more “juice” to operate. And thanks to a partnership with Walmart, we know Ossia’s tech works.
Walmart is using Ossia’s tech in its supply chain. The retail giant is putting sensors inside of packages to track goods in transit. These sensors allow Walmart to track packages shipped all around the world.
And, of course, Ossia’s technology keeps these sensors fully powered. Walmart never has to worry about batteries dying.
So this is another great solution that will help make IoT a reality. And that makes Ossia a company to put on our watchlist.
(Another puzzle piece of IoT’s success is the completion of the 5G wireless networks. IoT will create massive amounts of data. And the world needs 5G speeds to transfer all of it. This is one more reason why 5G is such a powerful investing trend. And if you’d like to know my No. 1 5G stock to buy today, you can go right here.)
Walmart as an AI powerhouse…
Speaking of Walmart, one of the company’s executives recently spoke about artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) at a conference. And would you believe that Walmart has over 100,000 different AI- and ML-based products running behind the scenes?
It’s kind of unbelievable.
When we think about Walmart, we think about a stodgy brick-and-mortar company selling cheap goods off the shelf – a company so behind the times that it completely missed the shift to e-commerce.
But no – Walmart employs about 1,500 data scientists and 10,000 software engineers across its business. This legion of high-tech employees supports Walmart’s massive suite of AI/ML processes.
These are processes for supply chain optimization… AI-powered security cameras… voice-activated shopping applications… and much more. Walmart is no longer the slow and stodgy incumbent everyone thinks it is.
By the way, one of the easiest ways to see what a company is focused on is to check its job openings. They are visible right on the company’s website.
And right now, Walmart has more than 200 openings for data scientists, software developers, and data analysts. Clearly, the retail giant is focused on bringing in people to build next-generation technology.
And it’s all part of the rise of AI we have been tracking in these pages.
I have been pounding my fist on AI all year long. I’m on the record saying that AI is hitting an inflection point in 2019… And this is just more proof.
Ultimately, this trend will reshape our world. And it will produce some of the best investment gains of our lifetimes.
My longtime readers know I like Amazon as a large-cap AI play. But if Walmart could somehow build out a competitive e-commerce platform and distribution network, it might one day become attractive. I’ll admit that it has a long way to go, but I’m impressed with how widely the company is employing AI in its business.
Editor, The Bleeding Edge