Optimism and Pessimism Gap at All-Time Highs…Why?

I blame Goldman Sachs. I know…I know…but read on….

I love this post from Morgan Housel on the wonders of the future. Here is my fave part:

Edison was one of the greatest inventors of all time because he understood the process of scientific discovery better than almost anyone before him or since. He wasn’t not a grand planner. He was a prolific tinkerer, spending hours in his lab combining parts in ways he didn’t quite understand, confident that little discoveries along the way – both from himself and others – would be combined and leveraged into more meaningful inventions.

No one could ever sit down and invent a lightbulb, and that’s not what Edison did. One person could spend a lifetime discovering the properties of different shapes of glass bulbs. Another could discover how different filaments burned. Another could discover a way to harness electricity. Another how to distribute it. And another – Edison – how to tinker with hundreds of disparate discoveries, tying them all together into a working lightbulb.

The point is that big breakthroughs don’t happen on their own. They are a conglomeration of small discoveries. They are an unforeseen part of talent leveraging itself off hundreds of inventors, often from multiple industries and multiple eras. This fact alone makes them more plausible than they might seem.

It’s why Edison was optimistic about our future.

“You can never tell what apparently small discovery will lead to,” Edison told the Post. “Somebody discovers something and immediately a host of experimenters and inventors are playing all the variations upon it.”

Color me an Edisoner!

In 2017 we seem more polarized than ever when it comes to the future.

The President blames the media and the media blames the social networks.

I can’t see the future but I can participate in it by reading people smarter than me and following along. I want to be a part of the small discoveries.

Just this week the Economist had a good piece out on Amazon and their future being brighter than ever.

On the other end of the spectrum is our President who is promising coal jobs and a much hotter earth and our new Treasury Secretary and ex Goldman Sachser, Steve Mnuchin (how can we trust a guy with an extra N in his name) who said today that we need not worry about AI and robots for 50 -100 years. Meanwhile his old firm announced their robo-advisor plans yesterday.

Like I said…blame Goldman Sachs.

PS – speaking about how far off robotics are …Intuitive Surgical ( $ISRG robotic surgical systems), Mazor Robotics ($MZOR robotic guide systems for spinal surgery) and iRobot ($IRBT robots for the home) are all at or very near all-time highs.

Also published on Medium.