Singing In The Rain and Disruptive TechnologySubmitted by Latitudes Financial Strategies on December 31st, 2021
One of my Grandsons was sleeping over last night, and Liz and I tried to get him interested in the classic movie, Singing In The Rain with little success. Because it’s a great movie we watched it anyway while my Grandson played on his tablet, a real-life illustration of the premise of the movie itself. He was more interested in the individually personalized entertainment experience on his small screen instead of the mass media experience we were watching on our big screen. His world view is completely different than ours, the times have changed and he was more interested in new technology and has little time for old movies.
For all of its great dancing and singing, Singing In The Rain is a movie about disruptive technology and the effects that it has on daily life. If you haven’t seen the movie (really, you haven’t?), it is about what happened to the movie industry after the first “talking picture” (The Jazz Singer) disrupted Hollywood and the entire way in which people around the world were entertained. Film experts have said that Singing In The Rain is the most important movie ever made, as it changed not only an industry, but society itself.
Earlier this year I went to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on vacation and listened to the excellent David McCullough biography of the Wright Brothers on the way. Within a relatively short amount of time after the first flights from Kitty Hawk, people were flying across oceans in jet planes, all because a pair of genius bicycle manufacturers had a shared obsession about flying. Their technology changed the world, once it was unleashed, everything changed.
For every new technology that comes along, there is usually a corresponding destruction of previously common and perfectly satisfactory technology. The Jazz Singer led to the death of the silent movie business, assembly line manufactured automobiles led to the death of the horse and buggy industry, and the invention of airplanes led to the complete disruption of previously common methods of the travel like ocean liners and passenger trains. Technology, throughout human history has changed the way we dress, the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the medicine we take, and the way we communicate.
As investors, we are at least partially responsible for the changes that come along, science and technology needs capital. It’s our job to provide the capital required to improve and advance our world as we make judgments about the places that we invest and the industries that are most likely to be good investments. Our job is to understand when technology will allow us to switch from buggy whips to carburetors (and from carburetors to fuel injection).
As I’ve been saying for a while now, there are 5 technologies that bear watching, each of them already disrupting our world. They are Robotics, Genomics, Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Electric Vehicles, and Financial Services. Whether you invest in these technologies or not, you need to be aware of their promise and their potential disruption. It is, in my experience, important that investors are at least aware of the changes that are already arriving and understand the ramifications that they have on existing technologies and businesses. It is crucial that we are aware of the ever-changing nature of technology and its effects on the world, even if we don’t directly invest in them. As your advisor, I’m here to provide whatever insight and advice I can give to help your portfolio adapt to the inevitable changes and disruptions that keep life interesting.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.