While it’s true that we just left the Industrial Age behind a few short decades ago as we entered the Information Age, the times are again changing, as we are now arriving at the dawn of the Quantum Age.
Such a bold statement demands an explanation, I realize. Like most changes in eras of time throughout human history–from the Stone Age to the Bronze Age to the Iron Age to the Industrial Age and the Information Age–this one too is based on new ideas and technology. There is right now a race to build quantum computers, which is driving forward a staggering number of new discoveries in the realm of quantum physics on a weekly basis. These new Quantum Age computers are to our current classical Information Age computers as typewriters are to laptops… a technological leap forward in exponential orders of magnitude.This race to build the first working quantum computers is rocking our world to its very foundation, as quantum processes are being demonstrated at room temperatures on the macroscopic scale in repeatable laboratory conditions.
You can better appreciate the origins of our current Information Age by taking a look at the first classical computers. Our first computers became commonplace in the 1930s and 1940s, with the hefty accomplishments of the ENIAC computer’s memorable debut. This gigantic milestone computer weighed in at thirty metric tons. Although it needed to be rewired in order to be reprogrammed initially and operated without any operating system, the ENIAC captured public attention and helped popularize the idea of computing as essential to everyday business and life. The first computers changed peoples’ lives and way of thinking far beyond what was originally envisioned, making the world better connected and informed than at any previous point in history.
Quantum Age Computing: The Power of the Qubit
Whereas classical computers are based on a principle of recordable, reproducible facts in the form of flat, two dimensional world of zeros and ones, Quantum Age computers are based on the physics of possibility. And what makes Quantum Age computers possible is a brand new idea we’ll become much more familiar with as we move more fully into the Quantum Age–the qubit.
The qubit, or quantum bit, is the simplest building block of quantum information. Qubits are designed to handle simultaneously superimposed possibilities, working together in entangled clusters of computational coherent complexity. A single quantum memory is capable of envisioning, for example, every single possible path home you can take during rush hour–all at once–so a quantum computer can instantaneously select the fastest possible route. Whereas classical computers have difficulty solving practical problems such as these, these real-life problems are tailor-made for quantum computers and natural quantum computational capabilities built into the photosynthesis process in plants.
Another mind-boggling difference between classical computers and Quantum Age computers is that qubits are much more than the sum of their parts. Whereas the bits and bytes of classical computers become just slightly more interesting and complex when more of them come together, truly mind-bending possibilities arise when two or more qubits are working together. Qubits work together in ways unlike anything ever seen in classical computing, beginning with entanglement, so that any single-qubit measurement performed will give a totally random result, whereas any time such a single-qubit measurement is performed on two entangled qubits, the two measurements will give opposite results. If you picture two entangled qubits as entangled coins being randomly flipped some great distance apart, so that whenever one came up Heads, the other would always be Tails, you see how very different the basics of Quantum Computing are from Classical computing.
Feeling the Pulse of Various Parallel Realities
One of the basic aspects of quantum computing is that energy is required to make a jump from one state to another. When quantum particles are observed to make a quantum jump, they can be seen to blink out of and into existence, like bright flashes of light, as they make the jump. There is an “oscillating phase” of vibration associated with each energy level state, so the faster the vibration, the higher the level of energy required to exist in that state. And whenever the energy of any one of the entangled particles in an entangled state increase energy, the entire entangled group of particles beat faster in that potential reality.
The Impact of Quantum Computing on Daily Life
The very existence of qubits and entanglement is already having a powerful impact on society, in similar fashion to the way the advent of ever-smaller classical computers and the internet has had on our lives in the past several decades. While most people might not be able to explain the difference between a bit and a byte, or explain the difference between RAM and ROM in a computer, there is now a great reliance upon global communication via a freely accessible internet for communication of news from person to person and group to group.
First proposed in the 1980’s, quantum computing is expected to change everything from the way the stock market functions to every aspect of information security, weather forecasting, and trend analysis. Thanks to quantum superposition of states, quantum qubits contain information in all possible states, and entangled qubits thus have the capability to efficiently compute optimal solutions for some of the most complex, vexing and currently “unsolvable” problems known to man.
The first quantum computers for sale fetched fifteen million dollars, and was purchased by NASA and Google. The size of a large garden shed, the Canadian D-Wave-Two is the first commercially available quantum computer to hit the marketplace, and heralds the start of a brand new age of computing… and civilization.
The Quantum Age Mindset
The Zen of qubit processing logic can be more easily understood from an Eastern fourfold logic view. Rather than adopting a simple Yes/No, Zero/One, True/False dichotomy of classical computing bits, qubits exist in the realm of such possibilities as: True, False, True-and-False, and Not-True/Not-False. Such a lack of certainty in favor of optimization may seem strange at first, but this seemingly fuzzy logic is one of the core foundational aspects of the new Quantum Age.
The Quantum Age invites us to embrace uncertainty, recognize interconnectedness, and raise our level of energy in order to experience a better way of life. Through quantum entanglement, we find a mechanism by which to comprehend intuition. Through quantum teleportation we see how we can sometimes travel farther in less time. Through quantum coherence we better understand synchronicity and coincidence, and through quantum superposition we glean insights into spontaneous remissions from disease that can occur when people are in lucid dream or near death experience (NDE) states of mind.
Cynthia Sue Larson
email Cynthia at firstname.lastname@example.org