Oct 23 2011

John Mauldin at Singularity Institute 2011

Singularity Summit 2011 – My Takeaways for Retirement Singularity. 

First up – John Mauldin’s Seven Waves of Change


  • Planning on living until age 150. 
  • Modelling the human brain to make Artificial Intelligent machines. 
  • The Biotech Revolution is here. 
  • Using IBM’s Watson computer for medical diagnostics.
  • The Next Big Economic Boom coming soon after the current economic crisis.  
  •  How to tell when your computer becomes conscious.  

These were some of the topics that the speakers at Singularity Summit 2011 tackled.  Over the next few Blog-Posts I will be returning to some of my key takeaways that relate these talks to your financial lives. Not to be too dramatic, but if you are not adjusting your personal financial plan to these emerging, life-changing areas, you will be – at best – left behind, and at worst, financially devastated.

I had the pleasure to attend this 2-day, jam-packed conference in New York City. [ see www.SingularitySummit.com ] How do you hear over 25 speakers in two days?  By limiting them to short, TED-style presentations. That means not much fluff, just the heart of each speakers topic is presented making for a very pithy two days. 

 John Mauldin was one of the key speakers for me personally. He is a very well known financial writer that I have followed for many years. His writings include a weekly newsletter that I follow along with about one-million other readers!  I also read his recent book entitled “Endgame” which is a great treatment of how the global economy will go through a massive and highly-painful debt de-leveraging over the next few years. (highly recommended). 

As several comments in his newsletter have hinted, Mauldin is a big fan of the Singularity (btw I heard he had dinner with Kurzweil during the conference), and he’s been talking about an upcoming book “The Millennium Wave” for some time.  I actually had a chance to say hello and ask him how the book was coming.  He said he’s working on it and that the Singularity Summit was part of his research. I thanked him for his work because I am often referring to it with my retirement planning clients.

Mauldin spent the first few minutes going over the current global debt problems, concluding with his prediction that it would all be over in 4-6 years.  He then switched into talking about his new book Millennium Wave. The name of his talk was “The Endgame Meets The Millennium Wave – Why the Economic Crisis will be History as We Create the Future”.

Mauldin at Singularity Summit 2011

Mauldin described 7 Huge Waves of change that will hit us over the next 20 years. After many years of building, the technological advances will soon propel another economic and investment boom. The 7 Waves deal with;

1)      Wireless Connectivity; Super cheap high=speed internet will connect up another 2 billion consumers AND empower tens of thousands of new geniuses

2)      Demographics; Accelerating change will lead to a collision of an aging developed world and a young developing world

3)      Rise of the Sovereign Individual; an interesting idea that has to do with technologically empowered individuals getting frustrated by slow-moving governments and taking things into their own hands to solve key problems.

4)      The Biotech Revolution Is Here; Biotech advances are leading to cures to major diseases and radical life extension.  A biotech investment boom will result in many companies going up over 100-fold in price. Mauldin (and me too) are hoping to catch this wave.  He recommends we “go long” life insurance and “go short” annuities, as in the former case, insurance companies will not being paying out much in death benefits, while annuities could pay for a long, long time!

5)      Nanotech – Close to Home Revolution; Nanotech advances will allow us to use 3D printers to print our goods domestically/locally.  This will result in jobs coming back from wherever they got outsourced to cheap labour.

6)      Robotics and Artificial Intelligence; Mauldin is very impressed by the current state of robotics and AI. One result he mentioned is that we will see new forms of energy creation emerging soon. “Energy is not the problem, it’s the solution”.

7)      Repercussions: Mauldin mentions 5 areas of repercussions – from geopolitical to a revolution in retirement. HEY!! That’s my topic!!    I truly look forward to his new book in order to gain more insights and relate them to you here.

As John Mauldin’s forthcoming book title implies, he sees a huge wave of change coming.  Like him, I hope to help you surf these changes rather than being swamped by them.

Here’s a link to Mauldin’s book website http://www.johnmauldin.com/research/books/the-millennium-wave/ 

Sign up for RetirementSingularity.com email updates on the right!!

Cheers, Michael


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    • David on January 20, 2012 at 10:04 AM
    • Reply

    I find all this fascinating. The future will certainly not look like the past.

    The access to technology is a huge game changer. I lived in Taiwan for 2.5 years and saw this in action.

    Also, I think energy efficiency will be a game changer and remove another obstacle to people’s ability to imagine a life and go out and make it.

    I’d love to get updates. I’ve already shared this site with friends.


  1. Hi Dave:

    Yes, I also think the energy piece will be crucial. Hopefully, advances will make it before too much longer.

    Do you have some ideas as to what energy game changers are likely to arrive first? My guess would be advances in solar will make it the preferred cheaper-then-carbon burning solution, but there are other candidates for sure.


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