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  • Writer's picturePhilip Ammerman

Quantum Supremacy

Photo (c) China Daily

Every so often, we get a glimpse of our digital future. It’s a shining bright future for technology and those who can understand it. For the larger mass of society, I am afraid the future will be less bright.

On our corporate website, we have been describing some of the downsides we see emerging from this digital future. You can read more about it here:

Today, I learned in retrospect about another amazing development in tech. Both Google and a research team from China’s University of Science and Technology achieved the same breakthrough:

Completing a calculation in minutes that would take a supercomputer 10,000 years to complete.

Of the two, the Chinese device is faster. As Wired reports:

Thursday, China’s leading quantum research group made its own declaration of quantum supremacy, in the journal Science. A system called produced results in minutes calculated to take more than 2 billion years of effort by the world’s third-most-powerful supercomputer.

Think about that for a moment: 2 billion years of effort, rendered in minutes.

We are a long way from actually building commercial quantum computing devices: perhaps 5, but more likely 10 years away.

But the train has left the station. Massive computing power, big data, artificial intelligence: the future trend is very clear.

What is also clear is that as a society or as entrepreneurs, we have very little understanding of how this is going to affect us collectively, as a system (or set of systems).

If we think AlphaZero or Stockfish playing chess is something, imagine what happens when you try to plot strategy or market growth forecasts going up against future AI deployed by your competitor.

If we think China’s social credit system is still in its infancy, imagine what it will be like 10 years from now.

If we believe drone swarms with 250 units are already radical, imagine swarms with 2,500 or 25,000 units.

The future is coming fast. And we are seriously unprepared for it.

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