And so here we are at the end with one last question. How will quantum computing change our lives? if our desktops and our phones are not going to be quantum machines any time soon what will the quantum revolution mean to us? Richard Feynman once said you can’t truly model a quantum universe on a non quantum machine and the ramifications of that are profound. Optimists posit that quantum computing will revolutionize everything from engineering to medicine, consider the field of chemistry if we could model things more accurately at the molecular and quantum level we could better simulate how chemicals interact with the human body. We could better understand how the medicines we take get distributed at the lowest level. We could remove the veil from neurochemical interactions and come to a better grasp on how the complex chemistry of the brain really works. Or we could combine quantum computing with earth sciences and agronomy, over 1% of the world’s total energy is used just to produce fertilizer every year, this is because most of it is made through a complex and inefficient process that we haven’t really been able to improve on in the last hundred years. But with quantum computing we might be able to find a much more efficient catalyst and save the world literally millions of tons of natural gas every year and along those lines if we want to talk about the environment, right now we don’t have a really good catalyst for simply capturing carbon out of the air. When people talk about carbon capture and using it to lower the amounts of CO2 in our atmosphere right now they’re basically only talking about doing it with bulky systems at power plants themselves, if we could use quantum chemistry and quantum computing to help find a way to do this in the ambient environment it would be a major step forward towards solving our CO2 build-up crisis. Or in the material sciences realm one of the greatest quests of the 21st century is to create a superconductor that doesn’t require serious sub-zero temperatures to action superconduct. If this is possible, it will require an exploration of materials at the quantum level, something quantum computers will be far more suited to handle than today’s machines. Now more immediate realistic things that quantum computers will provide us our advances in areas like machine learning and data handling. Many of you have probably heard of MARI/O, it was an attempt to have a computer learn how to play Super Mario World simply by telling it that the further right it got the better it was doing and then just leaving it alone and letting it play Each time through it would just press some buttons and see how far to the right it got. Less successful attempts were discarded and more successful button presses were integrated into its next run, eventually it learned how to beat levels in Super Mario World That basically is machine learning but instead of running the first level of Mario a ton of times, most of the time modern computers are fed gigantic sets of data, told what success looks like and then set about trying to learn from any of the success cases. They find within the realm of data they’ve been given and eventually if all goes well, they produce algorithms. That should help us create or predict future success. City planning, cancer metastasizing, movements of the stock market… All of these are problems that we might be able to crack with machine learning, and heck we might be able to build cities that avoid getting major traffic jams, predict much more accurately when a patient’s cancer is going to spread or see a likely stock market crash far enough in advance to mitigate it, if we could really sort through, compare and analyze the data we have. And quantum computers are far better at this than the binary computers we have today. Sorry guys! But quantum computing doesn’t come without its dangers, I mean just consider security encryption Right now, most of our encryption from our email encryption to our private social media data to our Amazon shopping, All of that security hinges on one straightforward idea, they all depend on how difficult it is for modern computers to factor the product of two enormous prime numbers, the staggering computational requirements of that task are what make modern encryption secure. But quantum computing by its very nature makes that impossible problem: soluble. Quantum algorithms ability to assess entire ranges of possibility at once rather than having to check each possible solution individually. Changes everything and I’m not saying the unbreakable cryptography of today will become child’s play but it sure won’t be impossible anymore. Modern encryption won’t truly be secure once quantum computing becomes a reality which will expose our data to a whole new wave of security threats. Allowing governments to spy more efficiently not only on each other, but on us. And forcing us to rework how we do some of today’s most routine internet-based tasks Of course, at the same time it also opens up new possibilities for improving encryption creating a whole new field of quantum cryptography. Which could potentially allow for new approaches and enable brilliant minds to fundamentally change how we think about security in the modern age. Quantum computing also presents a massive threat to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, most of today’s crypto currencies depend on a security protocol that could easily be overcome by quantum machines. And even if quantum computers weren’t used to actually overcome the systems that keep cryptocurrency secure, they could be used to mine cryptocurrency far faster than the fastest computers set to the task today potentially flooding the market and dramatically tanking the currency’s value. So thanks to those theories that Einstein and Bohr debated not a hundred years ago We will soon have safer and faster air travel with routes built to make it easier for humanity to connect across the globe, we’ll be able to detect cancer sooner through machine learning And solve even more complex problems of protein folding and DNA interactions to create yet more effective drugs. We’ll be able to better forecast the weather preventing deaths from flash floods and freak storms, and we will be able to better anticipate market crashes and potentially prevent the loss of hundred of thousands of jobs We will even be able to better understand the stars as quantum machines help us sort through the enormous pile of data our modern telescopes provide. Yet at the same time the quantum revolution may fatally wound our nascent cryptocurrencies. And create a new battleground for cybersecurity potentially putting everything for a military hardware to eBay purchases at risk. But all of these ideas are in their infancy. Right now, in Universities and laboratories across the globe people are building the algorithms that will make these things possible. Because to take advantage of the potential of quantum computing we have to think with quantum mechanics, we have to build whole new algorithms to tease out answers from the quantum superpositions or the space of possibility of our qubits. And even for problems we’ve already addressed through traditional means we will have to find new ways to address them ways that involve realigning our thinking and approaching computer science in a way that most engineers out there haven’t even begun thinking in. So will quantum computing revolutionize the world? Maybe. That’s largely on us. Can we learn to think in this way That was once so disturbing, so counterintuitive even to Einstein? Can we make the theoretical a reality and then build off that reality? Can we work with abstractions so complex that even the greatest minds couldn’t agree on what exactly they meant? And if we can do all that can we do it in a way that’s positive for Humanity? Can we do it in a way that doesn’t simply enable governments to more closely monitor us? Or allow advertisers to better target us with their ads? I don’t know. All I can say after having wrestled with this for so many weeks. Is that the potential is there, And that makes this a very exciting time, because knowing the potential exists one simple question remains… That’s right Zoe. Can we seize it?