As big or even bigger than the internet. That's what some are saying about the potential for artificial intelligence (AI). These prognosticators include Alphabet(NASDAQ: GOOG)(NASDAQ: GOOGL) CEO Sundar Pichai and Microsoft(NASDAQ: MSFT) CEO Satya Nadella.
They could be right. It makes sense, therefore, for investors to seek ways to profit from the rise of AI. But AI won't be the final huge technological innovation that turns the world upside down. Here's my prediction for what the next big thing after AI will be -- and which stock will be the biggest winner in it.
The next big thing
I've had my eye on one particular technology for a while that seems to me to be the most likely next game-changing innovation after AI. However, I decided to get a second opinion.
Actually, I received several other opinions -- from leading generative AI models. I consulted OpenAI's ChatGPT and Google Bard. I checked with Microsoft Bing (which uses OpenAI's GPT-4), Anthropic's Claude, and Meta Platforms' LlaMA. They all highlighted the same technology I had in mind at the top of their lists -- quantum computing.
What exactly is quantum computing? It's a type of computing that uses quantum mechanics to perform calculations. Quantum mechanics is a branch of physics that focuses on the atomic and subatomic levels. Quantum computers don't use bits (1s and 0s) like traditional computers do. Instead, they use qubits that can be 0 and 1 at the same time by simultaneously existing in multiple states.
The biggest plus for quantum computing is that it holds the potential to be super fast. Problems that could take current supercomputers years to solve could theoretically be performed in minutes or even seconds by a quantum computer.
One obvious way that quantum computers could be used is in AI. It's possible that the technology could accelerate the development of artificial general intelligence (AGI). Quantum computing could also dramatically shake up the cybersecurity world by breaking current encryption methods.
Is quantum computing just a technology geek's fantasy? Nope. Several companies are investing heavily in developing quantum computers.
For example, IBM(NYSE: IBM) claims to have "the largest quantum computing fleet in the world." IDC MarketScape named the company as one of the leaders in the field.
Fellow computing pioneer Honeywell(NASDAQ: HON) has also made quantum computing a top priority. Honeywell teamed up with Cambridge Quantum to create Quantinuum, which is billed as "the world's largest integrated quantum computing company."
Chipmakers have also jumped aboard the bandwagon. Intel(NASDAQ: INTC) developed Tunnel Falls, a qubit chip designed specifically for quantum computing systems. Nvidia(NASDAQ: NVDA) created the CUDA Quantum platform for hybrid quantum and classical computing. It also partnered with Quantum Machines to build a quantum computing system accelerated by Nvidia's graphics processing units.
Microsoft ranks as a top leader in quantum computing as well. Earlier this summer, the company announced what it called "the first milestone toward a quantum computer" -- a stable qubit device.
My pick as the biggest winner
I think that any of the above stocks could be successful with their quantum computing efforts. However, I predict that the biggest winner of all is most likely to be Alphabet's Google.
Google turned heads (and attracted some critics) in 2019 by achieving "quantum supremacy" where a quantum computer outperformed the fastest supercomputer in the world. In February 2023, it announced a major breakthrough in reducing errors associated with quantum computing.
Two months ago, Google reported another major success. Its scientists published findings that showed a quantum computer completed a task in seconds that would take the current most powerful supercomputer 47 years to perform.
It's still really early. Google set six key quantum computing milestones for itself. So far, the company has achieved two of them. However, Google has stated that its goal is to build a "useful, error-corrected quantum computer" by 2029.
I fully expect that quantum computing will be the next big thing after AI. McKinsey estimates the potential economic impact of the technology across just four industries could be as much as $1.27 trillion by 2035. I don't see a stronger horse in the quantum computing race right now than Google.
10 stocks we like better than Alphabet
When our analyst team has a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter they have run for over a decade, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has tripled the market.*
They just revealed what they believe are the ten best stocks for investors to buy right now... and Alphabet wasn't one of them! That's right -- they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.
*Stock Advisor returns as of September 5, 2023
Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Keith Speights has positions in Alphabet, Meta Platforms, and Microsoft. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Alphabet, Meta Platforms, Microsoft, and Nvidia. The Motley Fool recommends Intel and International Business Machines and recommends the following options: long January 2023 $57.50 calls on Intel and long January 2025 $45 calls on Intel. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.