I have put off this discussion for as long as I could. There are not many things I avoid talking about, but I put this one off because I did not, and still don’t, fully understand it.
Quantum Computing is, according to many experts, going to be the future of human computation. Everything I have read about it states that it will revolutionize our computing power to the max. What is funny is that despite all the praise this technology is receiving we seem to be having trouble figuring out exactly how to make Quantum Computing a reality.
Traditional computers are reaching their limit on their computing power. I will say that for day to day stuff like checking your email and just surfing the web normal computers seem to be working fine, and they are. One of the videos below even stats that Quantum Computers will not necessarily help you read your email faster, so then, why are scientist and computer geeks so excited about this technology?
Well, as I said we are reaching our limits on what the power of a transistor, which have actually become smaller and smaller and near the size of an atom. That is all fine and good, but where do we go from here? There is only so much smaller we can go, so eventually there will be a limit based on our technology that we will be able to achieve. I have talked about this before. Moore’s law was thought to always be true, and it states that technology will be smaller and double in power every two years, or something to that effect. So far that has held true or mostly true, but as I have said we are approaching our limits on what we can do and Moore’s Law may no longer hold true. But if you do some quick research it was only when the vacuum tube started to become obsolete only then did scientist and inventors strive to create the microprocessor or computer chip. So perhaps all we need is just a little motivation to create the next big breakthrough in computing.
Enter Quantum Computing.
This video explains thing much better than I ever could, and after watching I am starting to understand the whole idea a little more. I think the most fascinating thing I have figured out about Quantum Computing is that for the average desktop and or computer user this may not really change anything. The biggest advantages for Quantum Computing are the massive databases, creating predictions using large amounts of information like predicting the weather, and simulations. This is pretty fascinating as scientist seem to really be putting a lot of effort into this and at first it will seem to pretty much only help the scientific community. Which is not a bad thing, I just always thought that a break through like this would have more of an impact for everyone not just the scientific community. But if you think about it that is usually how all technological breakthroughs happen and or work. They are created and used for their purpose then eventually once they are better understood then they are mass produced and made available for the public market. I think for the most part that latter piece will take some time as Quantum Computing is still not quite a reality just yet.
So let’s take a look at the three sectors that Quantum Computing will radically change. The first is databases, which does not excite me in any way. The ability to get information out of a system faster is certainly cool, but the overall application of this is somewhat boring. I could see this one having the quickest impact on the market though. I am sure every company that houses a large database would love to utilize this technology making their jobs easier and faster. So this is neat, but as I said not really exciting.
The next is weather predicting. I have a friend who is a meteorologist and I have heard him talk about the models they use to help predict the weather. His claim was that they are pretty inaccurate, well duh, but he also said that the ones that involve snow are the most inaccurate, which I found interesting. So if this technology can help predict the weather with near absolute certainty that would be very cool but also change quite a few aspects of our day to day lives. Not knowing what the weather will do does not bother me that much, unless I was planning on a nice long bike ride and the weather suddenly changes and I am out of luck, but for the most part it is not that big of a deal to me. But what if in the future knowing exactly what time is was going to rain and knowing that at 12:38 on the dot it was going to be 88 degrees exactly. That would be pretty neat, not sure why you would need to know the exact temperature at a certain time, but you get the idea.
By far the most interesting aspect of Quantum Computing, at least to me, is the idea of running extremely detailed simulations. A while back I remember reading an article about a study at Harvard where a group had created a simulation but it was on a surface level meaning very zoomed out. I sent an email to the team asking if there could be the possibility of some sort of life arising in this simulation. I got a resounding no, because this simulation was so broad that it did not even account for stars and planets. So that was a major bummer, but still pretty cool and it was interesting to see what type of simulation we could run with our current computing power.
So if we can perfect Quantum Computing, from what I have read, it says that we could create a very detailed simulation, one that could very well be programmed to host life. One of the attached videos stats that Quantum Computing would be very good at tracking bacteria or what have you while regular computing is very inaccurate when it comes to this level of detail. What is also interesting is that we would in essence be using the basis of our own reality to create an artificial one, which is really mind bending to think about and creates some very philosophical conversation. Here is just something to think about. If we have the computing power to create a simulated universe based on our reality in every way, basically saying that if the simulation is an exact copy in every way, then it could be indistinguishable from real reality. Mind blown!! Quantum Computing is based on many of the overall aspect of M Theory, I think, but as I have said on multiple occasions I do not entirely understand it.
Here are some big IF’s. IF we can in the near future bring Quantum Computing to life, meaning we can utilize it to solve some very complex computing problems we have, I think then we will have to take seriously the idea that we could be living in a simulation ourselves. Because if you look at our evolution over the last 20,000 years or so we went from living in caves to having a livable habitat in outer space. So in that small of a time span if we, which I consider us to be a very primitive species even given all our achievements, could have the computing power to create a viable simulation that could harbor life. So you have to assume that a similar civilization to ours could and would probably do the same thing. But as I said at the beginning of this paragraph, these are some big IF’s. We could have the power to create a simulation, but there may be some very big unknown problems that arise that would hinder the addition of life for the simulation or what have you. However on the flip side if it takes us longer and longer to achieve Quantum Computing, meaning more than 50 to 100 years then I think Quantum Computing becomes less and less valuable to our species. I would imagine that some other cheaper and easier technology would come about in the meantime. Then I am not sure what they would do to the whole “we might be living in a simulation” argument. From what I have read this technology could be fully functional in the next 10 years or so, if so then that will certainly be interesting.