Bad News is Good News
Chip stocks' fall helps the Machine Internet rise
A few weeks ago, I noted how the “bad news” at Snap, Twitter and other social media companies can easily be interpreted as good news. If people are no longer interested in rage tweeting, they could be becoming more thoughtful. They could be reserving judgment. They could have found real lives.
The same is true, doubly so, with the recent “problems” at chip stocks like Nvidia, Micron and Qualcomm. Prices for commodity chips are falling. The “chip shortage” is easing. In the near term it means lower profits for big chip companies. Sell, sell, sell.
But it also means falling prices and more supply for companies that use chips. It means car prices could start declining. It means the Machine Internet can get a fresh start.
I started talking about the Machine Internet nearly 20 years ago, before it was even called “the Internet of Things.” Sensors and motes, tied to analysis by wireless networks. Anything whose performance can be adjusted can now be monitored and controlled by a central intelligence. You can monitor the condition of parts and schedule maintenance before things break. This matters if the part is your heart, and its breaking could kill you.
The Machine Internet lets SpaceX rockets land back on their pads. It’s why there aren’t more plane crashes. It’s how your Amazon package landed on your doorstep the same day you ordered it. It means we can reduce traffic jams by tying lights together. It means hospitals can operate as holistic systems instead of just a bunch of machines. There are literally millions of applications, from the lifesaving to the mundane, and we’ve just scratched the surface of them.
It takes a lot of people to make these new applications happen. Someone must imagine it. Someone must design it. Someone must finance it. Someone must write the software. Someone must sell it. Someone must install it and someone else must make it. Someone must explain it, and someone must teach the skills of making it to the next generation. Not all these jobs are “tech” jobs. Many replace existing jobs. But you’re creating more value per hour worked when you automate, which means there’s more money being made.
The Machine Internet can save energy, not just time. It can speed the time it takes new drugs to hit the market and improve their production. It doesn’t stifle creativity, it enables it, and makes it more valuable.
Sell the clouds and the chips and the software applications if you like. Some of those companies will fail. But those which succeed will do so beyond your wildest dreams. All thanks to today’s bad news.