I had a great conversation today with my friend Will Nathan about investing for the long term. And I don’t mean the long term like retirement, I mean the very long term in the sense of hundreds of years. Enough time for countries to rise and fall, and entirely novel technologies to take over the world. At the risk of sounding Kurzwelian, I want to discuss the potential for radical change in our future that might warrant such an extended investment horizon.
Over the past 25 years, nobody will argue that we have seen an incredible explosion in information and communications technology. Consider the iPhone that so many of us have in our pockets – more storage, more processing power, and exponentially faster connectivity than almost any computer that existed in 1985. Consider that the internet hardly existed outside the government in 1985, yet now the answer to any conceivable question is available within 0.27 seconds on Google. Consider all the ways that cheap, widely available microprocessors and wireless connectivity has changed business, our inter-personal lives, and even politics (witness Twitter-fueled revolutions in Iran, Tunisia, and Egypt in just the past year). The rate of change and progress is mind boggling. Today’s world was inconceivable just 25 years ago.
Ed Note: Rich or not, the idea of immortality has one fatal flaw. By the time we need this type of “service” we’ll be old. Who wants to be old forever?
What’s it like being old? It’s when you wake up in the morning and feel fine, but you still know something is terribly wrong.