Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to be free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
– The New Colossus, Emma Lazarus
I get goosebumps every time I read these lines.
As a first-generation immigrant, these speak to me and remind me to appreciate and treasure this special place that is now my home.
July 4th presents another opportunity to celebrate this day when in 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. It was bold innovation: marking the birth of a new nation founded on principles of freedom, equality, and self-governance.
An innovation that is now adopted by most countries in the world.
Here is wishing America a very happy birthday!
Let’s take a look at what’s going on in America. I also have streaming show recommendation and a special gift for you in the Wrapping Up section at the end.
Here are three signals in this edition:
- Market: World’s first $3T company
- Economy: Does persistent inflation help the economy?
- Tech: No human programmers in 5 years?
1. World’s first $3 trillion company
All hail Apple.
Last week, Apple became the first publicly traded company to close a trading day with a $3 trillion market value.
Along with Satya Nadella, Tim Cook is one of the most underrated CEOs in Tech. He has successfully stepped out of his illustrious predecessor’s shadow to create successful business franchises:
- Apple’s next-generation M1 chips
- Apple AirPods
- Apple Watch
- Apple TV+ subscriptions
- Build a services ecosystem around Apple devices
With an iPhone upgrade super cycle around the corner, along with potential VisionPro sales; Apple’s roadmap is looking good for the next 4-6 quarters.
Apple’s Next Big Opportunity is…
No company stays on top forever. All companies eventually wither. But that day is not today. In fact that day is in a very distant future for Apple.
Here is the reason for that: AI.
While most companies in The Magnificent Seven have seen a valuation uptick thanks to the recent AI run up, Apple has barely mentioned AI in their product presentations or earnings calls.
Apple’s next big opportunity is AI. Apple’s devices are the primary human interfaces for driving productivity with all the AI assistants and applications being developed. This means Apple will continue to be the interface point to create more value for users: iPhones, iPads, Macbooks, Watches, AirPods….and soon, on VisionPro.
Apple’s opportunity is not just to be the interface, but also build its own AI. Just a cursory look at Apple’s AI job openings shows that they are building something big in this space that we will come to know in coming quarters.
The signal is clear: Apple will be an AI player…but it might not be playing only in the AI infrastructure like others but also the in the consumption of AI.
2. Does persistent inflation help?
The Fed, under Powell’s leadership, has been very consistent about it’s two priorities: ensuring full employment and providing price stability.
Price stability is a code phrase for managing inflation.
Inflation has remained stubbornly persistent over the last few years. Goldman Sachs has termed this as the Post Modern Area.
While Goldman’s Post Modern theory does indicate lower stock market returns, the market has rallied strongly.
This can be explained by looking at the effects of inflation on the economy.
Past data shows that the longer low inflation sticks around, the longer the expansion phase (in number of years). Inflation has been jeered by many analyst and rightly so, but lower and stickier inflation might actually be good for the economy.
3. No human programmers in 5 years?
Peter Diamanadis’ recent interview with CEO of Stability AI, Emad Mostaque is epic for many reasons.
Stability AI is a leading AI company, it created Stable Diffusion, the world’s most popular open-source image generator. The company is now involved in a wide range of projects, including building LLMs, building models for protein folding, DNA analysis, and of course, audio-visual data processing.
I highly recommend watching this video in entirety.
Here are some points Emad made that are important to understand:
- There will be no human programmers in 5 years
- 41% of all code right now is AI generated (cites Github as data source)
- You will have ChatGPT on your mobile phone without internet
- We have figured out how to scale humans
- Humans are humans. Bring them the information that creates the most value, and you will change the world.
He is absolutely right, directionally speaking.
We know that AI’s evolution is breathtaking. Especially Generative AI holds a lot of promise for the transformation of our personal and professional lives.
But it takes a lot of time and effort to go from promise to transformation. Earlier transformative technologies like the Internet and Cloud went through a huge adoption cycle before becoming mainstream.
Wait, what happens to programmers?
Technology adoption cycles have always changed the nature of jobs and created new ones.
The way we instruct computers is evolving and becoming simpler. It is making coding easier and more democratized.
Pre-internet, the programming job involved hard coding in C and Java. The internet gave way to cloud computing which created distributed systems, and an API-based way of building applications.
With AI copilots, programming, testing, debugging, and deployment of applications will become easier. At the same time, the programmer’s job will evolve to address use cases that were not addressed before. The surface area of software will continue to increase. This creates more opportunity for programmers, not less.
Yes, there could be some disruption in the AI journey. But over a period of time, it creates more opportunities. Many of these opportunities might not be apparent today, but they will surface in the course of this journey.
To celebrate July 4th, I’ll be watching new episodes of my all time favorite show: Jack Ryan.
Based on Tom Clancy’s novel about a CIO operative by the same name, Jack Ryan is one of the best streaming shows if you are into heart-pounding spy action thrillers.
My recommendation is Season 3 which has a Russian espionage theme which is so relevant for current times. The full season is available on Amazon Prime to binge watch!
Wrapping up, I’d like to mention that we are celebrating the third anniversary of publishing Unlock! and I’d like to share a free copy (link below). Please feel free to share a copy of the book with people in your network who could use help with their careers.
That’s all for now. Wish you a happy Fourth! Enjoy the barbecue and fireworks,