The Future is Quantum
The current pace of technological progress is beyond crazy, but quantum physics is about to take us to the next level. For instance, so far, this fundamental area of physics has enabled us to develop smartphones, GPS, and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scanners. Quantum mechanics has life changing practical application and should be harnessed if we are to continue the technological revolution well into the 21st century.
Our current technology is primarily binary, with information stored and calculations made using only zeros and ones. However, we are shifting into a post-digital age where particles behave in a non-binary, wave-like, way. This change will allow us to perform tasks that even the best computer on the planet would fail to complete. Imagine being able to look around corners, because this is precisely what quantum could offer us…
A quantum imaging system – which could capture individual photons (i.e. light particles) as they bounce off an object – would be the technology responsible for this cool ability to see around corners. Tesla and Google may find this technology useful to install in their driverless cars to prevent incidents involving other vehicles and pedestrians that may be around a blind bend. The military may also find quantum imaging a useful tool to detect objects or enemy personnel through smoke at identify targets at long distances.
Quantum Sensing and Measurement
Sensors offered by quantum will be faster and more accurate than current technology. When commercially available, ultrasensitive gravity sensing devices could revolutionise areas of geophysics such as groundwater cartography, assessment of seismic and volcanic activity, subterranean mapping, and the detection of underground pipelines. Furthermore, the ability to map hidden areas using quantum should help to improve the early detection of many diseases and cancers. Excavating land and using medical imagery is currently quite expensive, so quantum sensing should help to reduce the cost of innovation.
This sounds like science fiction, but at some point quantum machines will replace our laptops. Quantum computing will change almost everything we know and believe we know about computing. In essence your computer will become an extremely advanced problem solver and do so far more efficiently than is currently possible. Although computers currently think in binary states, the superposition of the atom means that it will not only be able to adopt a state of 0 and 1, but can also adopt both states at the same time. These quantum computers will therefore be able to test all the possibilities that exist to solve a problem instead of trying out each possibility consecutively. This is particularly useful when trying to simulate highly complex physical systems, such as chemical interactions; something that modern computers struggle to do.