C’mon, it’s the phones

C’mon, it’s the phones

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I’m a proud papa on this Wednesday morning.

I attended my daughter’s school nativity play yesterday. We practiced her lines together for the past few weeks and it was great to see her hard work pay off on stage.

All the kids aced it.

As an aside, the quality of parents is far higher these days. It’s probably because couples aren’t churning out 10 kids each anymore, so they put more effort into nurturing each one.

One of the many reasons I’m optimistic about the future.

Kids rock!

  1. Prepare for a stock market melt-up in 2024?

The Dow Jones and the Nasdaq both hit record highs last week:

And it’s not only big “FAANG” stocks driving the market, as many have pointed out.

The list of stocks making new 52-week highs is the longest it’s been in over two years. That includes heavyweights as diverse as Costco (COST)JPMorgan (JMP)Visa (V)… and Broadcom (AVGO).

There have been a lot of ways to make money in 2023. We’ve been on the right side of the market.

But now all the Wall Street strategists who predicted a DOWN year for stocks in January are turning bullish…

Which makes me a little nervous. I’m uncomfortable agreeing with Wall Street forecasts because they’re so often wrong.

We’ll continue to invest in great businesses profiting from disruption. But it’s a good time to take some profits on speculative stocks.

  1. AI could resurrect Elvis Presley.

Rock legends Kiss played their final live gig in Madison Square Garden (MSG) a few weeks ago.

But thanks to artificial intelligence (AI), Gene Simmons and Co. could tour for another 50 years.

Kiss created “digital twins” (lifelike holograms) of themselves performing all their greatest hits. They’ll continue playing “live” concerts around the world using these digital twins.

ABBA is already doing this in London. The live shows, performed by the band’s digital avatars, are pulling in $2 million every week. Here’s what they look like:

Source: YouTube

The future is going to be wild.

Kiss could play gigs in 10 cities on the same night. You could watch a young Elvis Presley perform live in MSG.

AI will also transform what’s possible on the big screen. Maybe 1980s Robert De Niro will make a comeback.

AI image- and video-generation tools are getting so good, so fast, it’s scary.

Runway (one of our top pre-IPO AI companies to watch) just released a new product that allows you to transform images with a simple prompt.

On the left, you have a real photo of NYC’s streets. You can tell the AI how to edit the image, and it spits out the new one in seconds (like the one on the right). It’s magic.

Source: Runway

Keep in mind: This is the WORST AI will ever be.

AI is going to change Hollywood and showbiz forever.

  1. Smartphones should be banned.

If you’ve been here for a while, you know I insist on keeping smartphones and social media out of kids’ (and grandkids’) hands.

Smartphones + social media = a “mind virus” infecting kids across the world.

This mind virus makes your kids sadder, more anxious, less social, and—apparently—dumber.

Look at this. Test scores have been plunging all over the developed world since around 2010. US math scores just hit their lowest levels in 20 years. Not good. This is an emergency!

Source: OECD

I know, correlation doesn’t equal causation. But c’mon. Look at the timing. It’s the phones.

Smartphones kill the drive to learn. What kid will pay attention to some boring history lecture when Instagram is in their pocket?

Mark my words: Smartphones will soon be banned in every half-decent school.

I welcome it.

Here are five practical ways to kick your phone addiction.

  1. Today’s dose of optimism…

Smart people read, and the smartest people read the most. That’s why every billionaire’s bookshelf is packed.

The greatest gift you can give your kids (and grandkids) is to cultivate a love of reading at a young age. It will bring them incredible gains over their lifetimes.

A quote from the late, great Charlie Munger on reading:

“In my whole life, I have known no wise people—over a broad subject matter area—who didn’t read all the time. None. Zero. You’d be amazed at how much Warren reads and how much I read. My children laugh at me. They think I’m a book with a couple of legs sticking out.”

Choose books over tablets and toys this Christmas.

Stephen McBride
Chief Analyst, RiskHedge

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