Let’s face it, no song captures the uncertainty of teenage love better than the 1961 hit “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” by The Shirelles. If you fall into the cohort of those who aren’t familiar with this girl group, be sure to ask your parents or grandparents. They’ll assure you the song was an all-time pop classic. And, that brings me to the topic of this column …
As we look at the titans of commerce that make up the S&P 500 and their longevity, many of them may soon be asking themselves the same question posed in that ode to fickleness penned by Carole King and Gerry Goffin for the Shirelles all those decades ago.
I recently read an article documenting the rising frequency of turnover in the S&P 500’s membership list over the years. For example, in 1958, the average company’s tenure on the list was 61 years. By 2016, the average was reduced to 24 years, and that figure is estimated to shrink in half by 2027. I bring this up because the Bank of America recently released its list of high-tech “moon shots” to help today’s investors not miss their chance at investing in the “next big thing.” That, no doubt, caused more than one of today’s behemoths to begin questioning their consumers’ and stockholders’ fealty. They may be loved today? But, what about tomorrow?
The list itself ranges from the highly innovative to blatantly frightening. Determining the future companies that will arise to drive many existing 500 members into the lower tiers of financial dominance is no small undertaking. The list also gives new meaning to the phrase “risk tolerance,” as you’ll see below. Among the technologies Bank of America labels as fertile fields for emerging global dominance are the following.
- 6G telecom networks — You can always tell it’s better because the number is higher.
- Emotional AI — While a robot will still take your job, it will have the capacity to feel bad about it.
- Brain computer interfaces —Fans of the movie Johnny Mnemonic: This one’s for you.
- Bionic humans — With inflation, this will be the equivalent of “The Six Trillion Dollar Man.”
- Immortality — Methuselah, call your office.
- Synthetic biology — How can an oxymoron be the next best thing?
- Wireless electricity — Because lightning is so predictable and arc flash doesn’t exist.
- Holograms — Bringing the capability for virtual existence to the masses. “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.”
- Metaverse — Seems like a tough self-help book to write for someone’s meta-self?
- Electric vertical takeoff and landing flying cars — Haven’t they been promising this since “The Jetsons?”
- Oceantech — And you thought space was the final frontier.
- Next-generation batteries —They’re smaller, have more capacity, and cost less. What’s not to love?
- Green mining — I think we can all get behind less toxic methods to mine for minerals.
- Carbon capture and storage — Hey, you gotta put the stuff somewhere, right?
Predicting winners and losers is always a tricky business, and I think the folks at Bank of America realize how difficult is it to identify the next revolutionary idea. But, this list is a good place to start. Somewhere out there are the tech barons of the future, and we can only wait to see who they will be. Since the technologies and industries on this list remain relatively undefined, I don’t think there’s any need to call your broker or start reshuffling the old 401(k). But, for a few of the current members of the S&P 500 (and you know who you are), it’s never too early to start brushing up on the Shirelles’ lyrics.