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Five Big Booms for 2014

These Industries Will Hit Their Tipping Points

Written by Christian DeHaemer
Posted December 31, 2013

Here are five trends that will change the world in 2014:

1. Artificial Intelligence

Forbes magazine recently reported, "The largest class on campus this fall at Stanford was a graduate level machine-learning course covering both statistical and biological approaches, taught by the computer scientist Andrew Ng.  More than 760 students enrolled.”

Courses on machine learning are in high demand because learning machines are in high demand. Everything from spam filters to search engines and photo tags uses learning computers with a basic form of artificial intelligence.

2. Space

You may not know it, but the space race is on. China just sent a rover to the moon. India, South Korea, Argentina, and Iran have all announced space programs.

Several private companies such as Space X, Virgin, and Blue Origins are making space flight cheaper, faster, and more reliable.

I used to think there was no way I'd go to space in my lifetime. Now, I can easily envision a time 10 or 20 years from now where I could pay a few thousand dollars to ride above the atmosphere.

3. Robots

The price of robot component parts has dropped to the point where robots are able to replace low-cost workers like burger flippers.

Apple is spending $10 billion to bring its production back to the United States. Google has bought six robotics companies in the last two years. And Amazon made a big deal out of its plans for a delivery drone, which are implausible at best but did manage to catch the world's attention.

It's a good bet that when three of the most innovative companies in the world start spending big bucks on robots, something is happening.

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4. Stem Cells

Stem cells are undifferentiated biological cells that can differentiate into specialized cells and can divide (through mitosis) to produce more stem cells. In other words, they are the blank slate that can be turned into human parts.

Every day, it seems we have a new organ grown in a petri dish using stem cells. Today it was a kidney. In the past, it has been a heart, a liver, and an ear.

The stem cell market is growing rapidly as regulations ease and patients are finding solutions to their ailments. More money is being spent on R&D as the U.S. tries to catch up to South Korea, Israel, and others.

5. Mexican Oil

The Mexican government just overturned its constitution and opened up the doors for companies other than PEMEX to explore for and develop oil. The IEA estimates that the country has more undiscovered oil than anywhere else on earth with the exception of the Arctic.

Big oil companies like ExxonMobil, BP, Sinopec, and Halliburton will benefit, as the new black gold rush is on. Look to the Chinese to be big players south of the border.

This next flood of fracking profits will put a lid on rising oil prices and create a boom industry for pipelines builders.

Happy New Year,

Christian DeHaemer Signature

Christian DeHaemer

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Christian is the founder of Bull and Bust Report and an editor at Energy and Capital. For more on Christian, see his editor's page.

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