Will Quantum Computers Be Calling All the Shots?

Updated on May 2, 2019
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I am a Software Engineer with a passion for science, technology, business, and everything in between.


Just like that, virtually every single computer on earth can be considered obsolete. Even if a manufacturer decides to release a new computer model within the next six months, it’s out of date. How is this possible? The fact is, Google, IBM, and other tech giants are working around the clock to engineer technology based on quantum mechanics, which makes our current computers look like toys. This is a brand-new type of technology that has never been developed before. So just like a horse and buggy is not the same as a car, our modern-day computers are not at all like the newly developed quantum computers. They have so much more processing power and are capable of cracking problems that current technology cannot even touch.

What is a Quantum Computer?

For decades, computers have always used bits and the binary system to compute information. This system consists of zeros and ones and gives an ordinary computer a precise command. The machine thus responds by performing the appropriate activity, whether it be completing a job or producing the data requested. A quantum computer uses qubits, which is a more complex quantum version of the traditional binary system leaving endless possibilities. Unlike our current computers, the jobs or instructions given to the machine can take place under a measure of uncertainty with the help of superposition, entanglement, and interference. But what does this mean?

In the quantum world, superposition can be likened to a constant spin of a coin having zero and one individually on each side. Therefore, there is some probability of the outcome being zero and some probability of it being one. Also, this probability does not have to be 50/50, leaving a measure of uncertainty when transferring data. Entanglement incorporates two qubits that are in a superposition spinning between zero and one, and they are mimicking each other in movement. This means that when you alter the state of one particle, you subsequently change the stated of the other particle, no matter how far apart these particles are. The particles are joined together but not by a physical connection. And lastly, interference is the wave movement created by particles called beating, as the data is transmitted. Superposition produces patterns of interference, which at times can work in harmony or cancel each other out when processing data. If you are scratching your head, it just means that you are slowly beginning to get it.

To gain further understanding of quantum computers, you have to grasp what quantum mechanics is. Quantum mechanics is the scientific theory behind the tiniest parts of the world around us, such as molecules, atoms, and other subatomic particles. Based on extensive research, scientists have been able to engineer quantum chips in hermetically sealed glass laboratories and place them into the circuit boards of temperature-controlled quantum computers. The metal on a silicon chip, also known as superconducting qubits, is how the particles of information are transferred from point A to B.

Can it Reverse Time?

Within a carefully controlled environment, scientists were able to use a quantum computer to reverse a process that had previously taken place. How was this done? Within the theory of quantum mechanics, the atoms and various particles are described as a wave function. It is not the same as a tangible wave, but it’s an abstract mathematical portrayal of the position and movement of an electron. Even so, these calculations of its position are all probability, and nothing is ever exact.

Nevertheless, researchers were able to take these calculations and use the law of thermodynamics to reverse a process that had taken place by two qubits. Although difficult and problematic in a standard atmosphere, in a quantum environment it has become a straightforward procedure to complete. This does not mean that a time machine has finally been created. But they still have effectively been able to write a computer program that reverses the system back to its original state 85% of the time. When a third qubit was introduced into the experiment, the success rate decreased to only 50% because the computer found it more challenging to maintain control over the environment. This break-through demonstrates how they can easily mimic occurrences that cannot be duplicated in the real world.


Quantum Computers Future Potential

Uncertainty is usually not looked at in a positive light. However, quantum computers take advantage of superposition and this uncertainty in solve problems in a different manner. In the healthcare industry, diseases plague millions of people. With the help of these computers and specially designed applications, one can use uncertainty to predict the spread of a particular illness and help to find a cure. Uncertainty with the IT Industry means that you can use this technology to prevent hackers from accessing private information. A hacker would never be able to decode a password key perfectly because they would have to break the laws of quantum physics to break encryption with this technology.

The most shocking aspect is the development of applications for teleporting information with the use of a quantum computer. It is not the teleportation of a physical object, but the transportation of data. This is possible through the manipulation of photon particles across space and time, creating a channel for teleportation, and also making it possible for a new type of internet. Scientists were able to complete this by using entanglement with two twin photon particles, separating them by sending one to a satellite that orbits the earth, and then begin the manipulation of one photon, which in turn also manipulates the other. Why or how this happens is not entirely clear, but it has been accomplished.

Due to the advanced capabilities of this new technology, artificial intelligence is on the verge of reaching an entirely new level. The human brain has always been much more sophisticated and complex than any computer could have been designed. Engineers have been trying to replicate this type of neural network for a long time. Currently, scientists are building a quantum computer that performs very similar to the human brain. The real challenge with this is designing the software program to accomplish this difficult task and uploading it to a quantum computer. So, the question still remains, will computers be calling all the shots? You tell me.


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    • Larry Slawson profile image

      Larry Slawson 

      15 months ago from North Carolina

      A very interesting idea. I have never heard of this before. Thank you for sharing.


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