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IBM Says Quantum Computing is Here - Should the World be Worried?

Quantum computing promises to make the invention of modern computing comparable to the invention of the first stone tools. Quantum computers can solve problems considered unsolvable by today’s supercomputers in seconds. (Sometimes, milliseconds.) Moreover, according to IBM, quantum computers are just a few years away from being rolled out commercially.

IBM Expects Quantum Computers to be Widely Available in 3 - 5 Years

At a recent IBM think Summit in Taipei, IBM announced that it expects its own quantum computers to be commercially available within 3 - 5 years.

IBM already has several real, working quantum computing models. However, IBM hasn’t yet achieved what is referred to as ‘Quantum Supremacy.’ When IBM does, its quantum computers will outperform even the most state-of-the-art supercomputers. Only then will they look to enter the mainstream commercial market.

How Will Quantum Computers be Used in the Future?

To understand how quantum computers will reshape modern computing, it is necessary to understand how computers work.

At their most basic, computers represent information as ones and zeros represented as physical microscopic dots on computer chips. Each dot is equivalent to one bit of data.

Because the number and positioning of bits on microchips is fixed, contemporary computers are limited in processing power by basic laws of physics. By comparison, quantum computers are not.

In quantum computer processors, bits aren’t fixed in position or fixed as specific one and zero values. Instead, data can be represented as a one and a zero at the same time, in what is referred to in physics as superpositioning.

Quantum Computing Use Cases

By not being restrained by the laws of physics, quantum computers can process information at breakneck speeds. In one recent case, Mile Gu, an assistant professor of physics at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, demonstrated how he could use a quantum prediction engine in a quantum computing environment, to predict up to sixteen outcomes of a specific event simultaneously.

In effect, Gu’s quantum prediction engine allows him to see the future in real-time. (Or at least 16-versions of the future). Gu has so far tested his engine with a simple coin toss experiment. However, the same principle will eventually allow quantum computer users to model complex systems with unprecedented accuracy.

- Quantum computing will transform marketing and advertising, by allowing marketing teams to accurately test several campaign strategies simultaneously, before deploying strategies with the best ROI in the real world.

- Medical researchers will be able to create new drugs and vaccines at a far faster rate than at present, by conducting virtual clinical trials;

- Quantum computing in economics will completely transform stock trading, investing, financing, and wealth management;

- Modeling of complex human and environmental systems will lead to innovations in urban planning, climate change science, logistics, and management of resources.

Quantum computing will also lead to new innovations in AI research, as well as other innovations which we simply can’t imagine at present.

Quantum Computing Dangers

Proponents of quantum computing say that the future is bright. However, it should be remembered that in the wrong hands, quantum computing could adversely impact society.

Some speculate that quantum computers may eventually be used to create indistinguishable from the real thing deep fake videos. Then there are a few military and surveillance applications which can be unsettling to consider. As it stands, though, we won’t really know what the future will look like until we get there.

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