7 Billion: Qubits might help

There was a time when 3 Billion people living on the planet was a large enough number that it rang alarm bells.  Very smart people theorized at the time that the planet would never be able to handle the next billion. 3 billion was the number we collectively totalled in 1960.  Seems like chump change now that we just passed 7 billion the other day.  Looking back, 3 billion would seem like there was no one around.  So much space to do your thing.

That news item got lots of people excited, their reflex reaction of angst bubbling to the surface.  And while I don’t dismiss the challenges to the planet of so many humans, I’m also a believer in the intrinsic power we possess to successfully tackle and solve our most difficult problems.  We’ve been doing it for a few tens of thousands of years so there is a decent track record.  Take this other announcement the same day of a Canadian-built quantum computing machine bought and installed by the University of Southern California. The article was probably viewed by oh, maybe, six of us around the world. 🙂

Basically, if all goes according to plan, the machine will process information using quantum bits (qubits)…. the ability for a bit to be in both an on and an off state at the same time.  Radical.  And it means (again, if all goes according to plan, and it does sound profoundly complicated) that machines like the one described in the article will be able to run many more calculations than are possible with today’s fastest transistor-based super computers.

You and I won’t be around cluttering up this world when the benefits of this latest technological achievement are finally realized. Exponential leaps in physics don’t happen everyday and their impact takes time to be felt.  This technology is so edgy it can’t even be called that.  But I suspect it is one of the cornerstones of a foundation on which our kids’ grandkids will build the future.   We did it in our time and so will they.

About Peter Armaly
I get jazzed by automation, big data, and blockchain tech. Business, technology, and fitness are things I understand. Scotch, wine, food, and fiction are things I appreciate.

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