Some say Elon Musk is the real-life version of Tony Stark from "Iron Man."
The 45-year-old billionaire has a lot in common with the Marvel Comics character. Both are entrepreneurs, philanthropists and geniuses who enjoy fancy cars and flight.
Among Mr. Musk’s many superpowers, he has made all-electric cars cool. That’s thanks to his Tesla Motors (TSLA) success.
He’s also making space flight and a trip to Mars both cool and ultimately possible. That’s thanks to his rocket ship company SpaceX.
Their superhero costumes may differ, though, as Musk would pick a space suit over Iron Man’s armor. But both of these larger-than-life forces possess the technology to achieve superhuman feats.
We’ll have to wait until the next "Iron Man" or "Avengers" movie to see what other abilities the Marvel hero may have. But for the real-life Musk, it seems mind-reading may be his next superpower of choice.
How? Well, Musk wants to make it cool to implant a microchip in your brain and read your thoughts.
And this futuristic technology may be closer than you think …
That’s because he has just confirmed that he has started a new company, Neuralink. And it could one day make implantable brain chips that are designed to treat neurological disorders.
But that’s not all …
The former PayPal (PYPL) co-founder also thinks these implantable brain chips could help humans combat the futuristic "rise of the machines" nightmare.
That is, is a world controlled by Artificial Intelligence gone awry.
As the WSJ put it:
Building a mass-market electric vehicle and colonizing Mars aren’t ambitious enough for Elon Musk. The billionaire entrepreneur now wants to merge computers with human brains to help people keep up with machines.
Don’t you wish everyone had even a sliver of Mr. Musk’s ambition?
The WSJ article cited people familiar with Neuralink. They explained that it is pursuing something Musk calls "neural lace" technology.
This is the technology that involves implanting tiny brain electrodes that may one day upload and download thoughts.
Per the WSJ, the company:
… plans to develop cranial computers, most likely to treat intractable brain diseases first, but later to help humanity avoid subjugation at the hands of intelligent machines.
Musk’s interest in safeguarding humanity against the potential negatives of AI should come as no surprise. He’s talked about the issue extensively in the recent past. And in a conference last year, he told the audience:
"If you assume any rate of advancement in [artificial intelligence], we will be left behind by a lot."
The solution he proposed back then was the so-called "direct cortical interface." This is basically AI embedded in the brain to supercharge cognitive function. And it allows humans to operate on par with AI.
So, it certainly seems like Neuralink is the first step in this process.
For investors, the subject of AI and all its repercussions does represent a potential gold mine of sorts.
Now, the really cutting-edge technology ventures like Neuralink aren’t ready for prime time when it comes to your current portfolio. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t companies on the AI periphery already making profitable use out of sophisticated smart technologies.
One company on the AI cutting edge is a name that was on the cutting edge when typewriters dominated the office environment. And that is International Business Machines (IBM).
IBM stock also happens to be a holding in my Cash Flow Kings newsletter. The position is up about 10% since we added it to our buy list back in November.
One thing to like about "Big Blue’s" AI technology is that it is already being used in various fields such as healthcare. It helps with the diagnosis of diseases such as cancer and leukemia.
Beyond that, the company’s "Watson" technologies now are being used by H&R Block (HRB). "Watson" is now helping customers find more tax deductions and increase the accuracy of their tax returns.
But perhaps the main reason why I like IBM so much is because it’s on the cutting edge of the cybersecurity wars. Here, it has specifically designed AI capabilities to predict where and when cyberattacks are likely to take place.
IBM’s AI operations are quite real. We know this because its AI operations now contribute more than 40% of the company’s total revenue.
And it’s not just IBM’s bottom line that stands to get a boost …
Related story: The CIA Can Spy on You with Your Phone, Car & TV
Its AI technology can help other companies and industries function better, too. So if you’re wondering where the big AI investment money is going to be made, at least today, I think IBM is a good place to start looking for it.
Yet in the distant future, it’s not hard to envision a day when neural lace technology is as common as buying something online today from Amazon.com (AMZN).
It’s also not hard to see a day when stocks in the AI space are as successful as AMZN shares, which just happen to be up about 50,000% in 20 years.
You might have missed AMZN’s big run-up. But do you know what’s about to sprint higher? Silver! Here’s Sean Brodrick with your hot metals chart of the day …
Mining for Money
Silver is Poised to Take the Gold!
By Sean Brodrick
Silver has its racing shoes on, and it is pulling away from the pack. Take a look at the year-to-date performance of silver, gold and the S&P 500.
The S&P 500 is up 5.77%, riding a wave of Trump-mentum. Gold is doing better, with an 8.47% gain. But silver is sprinting, with a 13.5% gain.
If silver keeps up this pace, that would work out to a 65% gain for the year.
Now, there’s nothing to say silver must keep up that pace. It could slow down. Then again, it could speed up. We’re in a new precious metals bull market, after all.
Importantly, silver is at a critical point. Let me show you another chart of silver, as tracked by the iShares Silver Trust (SLV).
You can see that silver gapped higher on Monday, jumping right to its 200-day moving average. Now, it is testing its big downtrend from August.
Silver made that gap higher on strong volume. That’s bullish, too.
It’s likely that one of two things will happen here:
The less-likely thing is that silver will plow through that overhead resistance like a rampaging bull. I say less likely, but the metals have surprised us for months.
The OTHER thing that could happen is silver could pull back to test its uptrend, which I’ve marked as a blue dotted line. If silver does that, I’ll be happiest.
Why? Because more coiling up means the eventual explosion higher will only be bigger. A pullback will also be an opportunity to pile into miners with exposure to silver.
Fundamentally, what’s powering this move?
Silver is Rare. Pure-play silver mines are precious indeed. Most silver comes as a byproduct of other metals. That means silver production can’t be cranked up to meet rising demand.
Peak Silver. In fact, production from silver mines peaked in 2015, according to GFMS Thompson Reuters. And it should keep going down. We’ve hit "Peak Silver."
Solar Surge. Silver is an industrial metal as well as a precious metal. Industrial fabrication makes up about 50% of silver demand each year, vs. less than 10% for gold demand.
Silver is used for all sorts of things, from wiring in cell phones to chemical reagents to the paste used in solar cells.
Many industry analysts thought solar demand for silver was peaking. That turns out not to be the case.
Prices of solar modules are falling as the industry becomes more efficient. That is stoking demand, especially outside the U.S. And that’s pointing the way to more silver consumption.
Weaker Dollar. Just like gold, silver straddles the "Seesaw of Pain" with the greenback. When one goes up, the other usually goes down. Now, the dollar appears to have peaked. And that opens the door to higher silver prices.
I hope we get that pullback in silver. It would be a buying opportunity. Silver is ready to run — the starter pistol is cocked. The race is beginning, and silver could take the gold.
Investors should get out of the way, or ride this rally for all it’s worth.
Consumer confidence came in at a 16-year high. This gave investors the confidence to start buying stocks again, and the broader indexes saw a sea of green across the board in Tuesday trade. Notably, the Dow snapped its eight-day losing streak with a 150-point (+0.7%) gain.
• Energy stocks led the way higher: Supply disruption in Libya drove WTI crude 1.3% higher.
• However, if you’re a member of JR Crooks’ Natural Resource Options Alerts service, you saw three monster gains — 77.8%, 103.7% and 151.2% — in March. And each of these came from betting against commodities. Congratulations, JR, and to everyone who made these trades!
• Rebrand and expand: Comcast (CMCSA) is revamping its streaming video option to appeal to "cord-cutters" and high-speed Internet subscribers. Xfinity Instant TV, due to debut in Q3, is set to cost $15 to $40 a month. Shares closed the day unchanged.
• If Le Pen loses, Europe’s markets win: JPMorgan (JPM) research suggests that European stocks could surge 10% if far-right candidate Marine Le Pen loses the upcoming French election. That figure represents the $100 billion that’s flowed out of Europe since early 2016. The first round of voting takes place April 23, and the second round on May 7.
• Speaking of France: General Electric (GE) completed its last major sale under its GE Capital arm, closing its French consumer finance business. GE shares gained 0.6%.
Good luck and happy investing,
Uncommon Wisdom Daily