4 Technologies That Aren't That Big Today but Will Likely Be Massive in 20 Years
The concept of smartphones and electric cars seemed like a pipe dream 20 years ago, but today, nearly 6.92 billion people, or 86.4% of the global population, have personal smartphones. Governments worldwide are moving toward a green future by encouraging the use of electric cars instead of vehicles with combustible engines.
Investing in burgeoning technologies could increase your wealth within the next two decades. Take look at some of the most promising technologies poised to catch on.
Generative Artificial Intelligence
In recent months, generative artificial intelligence (AI) has taken a much larger role in daily life than normal. ChatGPT is rewriting curriculums and being used at publications like Buzzfeed Inc. But that’s just the beginning. While ChatGPT has been growing in prominence, other aspects of the field have been under-reported.
For example, RAD AI is a startup using generative AI to increase the efficiency of marketing campaigns with the world’s first AI marketing platform built to understand emotion. The startup is raising on startup investing platform Wefunder and has raised over $2.5 million from everyday investors.
Other types of generative AI examples include programs used to generate images, paintings, drawings, text-to-speech and full videos using nothing but AI.
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Commercial Space Exploration
2021 was a pivotal year for commercial space exploration, with startups such as Jeff Bezos-backed Blue Origin LLC and Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) successfully kickstarting commercial space travel. Virgin Galactic, backed by billionaire Richard Branson, also launched the first fully crewed flight to the edge of space in July 2021.
These startups are gearing up to begin commercial space travel by 2024. But given recession concerns and supply chain issues, no concrete plans have been made. Many companies delayed their schedules by at least a year as the macroeconomic headwinds piled on.
With tickets priced at nearly $500,000 each, commercial space travel is currently only accessible to high-net-worth individuals. But you can expect prices to drop over the next two decades, as companies invest heavily to develop sustainable space stations and other infrastructure. China Business Knowledge predicts space travel to become more affordable over the next 15 to 20 years, stating, “Many people alive today will have a real chance of traveling to space in their lifetimes.”
The majority of policies developed by nations over the past two years has been focused on transitioning to carbon-neutral energy. While the energy crisis resulting from the prolonged Russia-Ukraine war has thrown off the timeline, several countries have pledged to phase out fossil fuel emissions to eliminate their carbon footprints by 2050.
Solar, wind and geothermal energy are at the forefront of this transition, and the popularity of hydrogen as an alternative source is peaking. Green hydrogen has immense applications across the agriculture, manufacturing and transportation industries. Boston-based startup Electric Hydrogen, which produces green hydrogen from water, raised $198 million in Series B funding last June.
While green hydrogen production is expensive, scientists worldwide are working toward developing ways to produce carbon-neutral hydrogen commercially. Norwegian fuel cell company Nel ASA, the world’s largest manufacturer of electrolyzers, expects green hydrogen production costs to become equivalent or lower than fossil fuel production by 2025 at the earliest.
Private Equity Secondary Market
The private equity market is dominated by venture capitalists and angel investors. This has been a point of contention for retail investors for some time. It triggered the meme stock rally in the last two years as retail traders used social media to create immense selling pressure on institutional investors.
But with the rising popularity of startup investments among everyday investors, companies are working on establishing a solid secondary market for reselling private equity assets. Startups typically remain private for 10 to 12 years before becoming mature enough to go public while seed money invested remains locked in. But with the development of a secondary trading market, institutional and retail investors do not have to wait for an initial public offering (IPO) to cash in their investments.
StartEngine, the largest equity crowdfunding startup in the U.S., is working toward developing an inclusive secondary market for trading such securities. As the private equity market rapidly evolves, secondary trading markets facilitating reselling of such asset classes are expected to be one of the biggest advances in the retail investing space.
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