The island was sinking.
Water seeped through the cracks in the reeds as my friend and I stepped off the boat. I thought I’d see some panic, maybe a few of the island-dwellers rushing to plug the leak.
But the people of the Uros Islands continued to greet us with smiles as we sloshed our way to one of their huts. My guide shortly explained that these man-made islands, floating serenely on the placid surface of Peru’s Lake Titicaca, were constantly sinking.
Every couple of months, the Uros people had to apply a new layer of reeds to simply stay afloat.
And once the island touches the lake’s floor, they must create another island — which takes about a year. (I asked my guide why they didn’t want a stationary island. Wouldn’t that solve their problems? He told me they want to be able to float with the waves. Also, if they ever dislike a neighbor, they can simply float away! I certainly can’t do that.)
Now, while I found these traditions fascinating and beautiful, I realized how difficult this life must be. In fact, it might not surprise you that arthritis is a huge issue with them.
So I have to say it made me appreciate my life in Florida much more and all the pieces of tech that improve the quality of it.
I know tech can seem a bit invasive these days, and it’s easy to see the pitfalls. But today, I want to briefly take a look at how much tech has improved our lives. How necessary it is.
Because where there’s a need, there’s a rally.
Here are two big ones:
Better medical: Biotech breakthroughs — such as precision medicine — are completely altering the quality of our lives. One of the critical components of precision medicine is the use of genetic information to find compatible drugs. This is massive. Prior to this, most medications only work on an astounding 20% of the people who take them.
But now companies such as DNAnexus, the global leader in biomedical informatics, are creating cloud-based platforms that can analyze and mange DNA sequence data — vastly improving our health care.
In fact, DNAnexus closed a $58 million financing round on Tuesday. And a strategic portion of that investment was footed by Microsoft and Alphabet’s investment arm GV (Google Ventures). So clearly, the big money sees how valuable this innovation is — and just how much this space is set to grow.
As our tech expert Paul wrote earlier this year: “In 2016, we spent an estimated $3.4 trillion — that’s right, trillion — on health care. In the year 2025, research shows that we’ll be spending an estimated $5.5 trillion. At that rate of growth, health care is going to be nearly 20% of our economy.”
That’s why precision medicine is the place to be now. You can learn more about this trend here.
The Internet of Things
Convenient home life: Smart tech is not only revolutionizing our health care — it’s also improving simple things we do every day. By collecting data and analyzing it for efficiency, cost, comfort, safety — it makes our lives cheaper, more convenient.
For example, a smart lock can collect your preferences and allow you to let in a neighbor or delivery person without giving them the key. It can also alert you if your door is open, either because you forgot to lock it or someone broke in.
Then there’s a smart thermostat — like the Nest Thermostat — that can automatically adjust the temperature to your preferred settings, dropping your bill by, say, 30%.
And HTC’s new smart light bulb — which uses the HTC Vive VR headset technology — is aware of its surroundings to the extent that it could theoretically detect if a person has slipped in the tub or is still for too long. That’s not just convenient, that’s life-saving.
All of this put together — and, of course, there’s much more tech out there — has drastically improved our lives. And as Paul wrote on Thursday: “This is why readers in my Profits Unlimited service have seen gains of over 200% in the Internet of Things (IoT).”
Again, this is where the smart money is flowing. You can learn more about this IoT trend here.
All in all, smart tech has put us light-years away from worrying about, say, constantly sinking islands. And for that, I’m grateful — not only as an investor, but as a human being.
Catch you next week.
Managing Editor, Banyan Hill Publishing