120: Quantum Leap in Computing – Quantum Computer Madness

Matt and Sean discuss how quantum computers may impact our lives, whether they’ll be in our homes, and how our days might change the quantum world.

Watch the Undecided with Matt Ferrell episode, “Quantum Computers Are Coming … But Why Should You Care?”: https://youtu.be/10rQ_2WbxC8?list=PLnTSM-ORSgi4dFnLD9622FK77atWtQVv7

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Hey, everybody on today’s episode of still to be determined. We’re gonna talk about whether or not our commodore 64 still works. That’s right, we’re gonna be talking as usual about Matt’s most recent episode from undecided with Matt Ferrell we’re talking about. His episode quantum computers are coming but why should we care? Question Mark this episode dropped on May Twenty Fourth 2022 and with me of course is Matt Matt how you doing.
I’m pretty good hows your ah memorial day weekend going.
So far so good. The weather here has turned gorgeous and so we are enjoying normal memorial day weekend stuff so we did our first cookout and fired up the grill which was covered in cobwebs and.
Enjoyed some tasty burgers in the backyard last night.
With a hint of burned spiders as you eat it up for the first time.
They’re a little bit. They turn it they curl up and they turn it. It’s a little bit like sesame seeds on the bun. Yeah, it’s it’s tasty for those of you who don’t know me yet I’m Matt’s older brother I’m Sean Ferrell I’m a writer and Matt you all know. So.
Okay, that’s disgusting. Yeah.
Let’s just get straight into the episode Quantum computers this episode dropped on the same day as an interesting Vox article that I read about Quantum computers. So I think this is um, interesting How this is peeking into the zeitgeist.
Something in water.
It’s it’s emerging on people’s radar is something that is on the horizon If it’s not already past the Horizon a little bit and actually doing stuff and I got the sense from your video in particular. It’s basically already here.
It’s at the beginning where at the beginning stages of it. It’s already here. It’s no longer theoretical. There’s actual data centers and machines that you can actually tap into and start to use in very limited ways. But it’s like it’s a hint of what’s coming to the future.
Yeah, right.
And you mentioned in your video the hybridization that will likely take place and you just mentioned just now the idea that there somewhere is a data center that’s using a Quantum computer and somebody could effectively through the internet log in and utilize. That computing strength from what you are Seeing. Do you think that that is likely the the main future for Quantum computing that it will be those kinds of large data Hubs that will be decent. Yeah, um, what I’m trying to say is. Centralized in locations that we will utilize in that way as opposed to will we ever have a quantum computer in our home.
Yeah, to me? Well, we’re actually heading towards that Cloud computing infrastructure anyway and our devices are becoming more and more of a thin client I Remember when I first started tech in the software Industry. It was like. Thin clients was all the rage. It’s all going to go with thin clients and it was like yeah no, it’s not.. It’s not going to go thin clients. It’s going to be like’s like lagging and slow and it’s like we’re at that point now where you can actually play games. Beautiful games online and not have a console in your house and all you have is like ah. Something plugged into your television set and then a controller and the game is actually being played in the Cloud. We’re heading that way Anyway, so it’s like I think that’s where most of this is going to be because like in the early days and computers where it was like an entire floor of a building.
Was just all those things with like the real-to real tape spinning around and it was like a glorified calculator that took up an entire floor. It’s like it feels like that’s what quantum computing is today where it’s like very large takes it takes a lot of it’s very difficult to manage at this point but as it gets smaller more compact. We get more.
Better at managing it and creating it. It’s like I think you’re going to start to see this trick lot into more and more places. But for right now. Yeah, 100 it’s going be some kind of centralized data center thing that you tap into like I need to do calculations of some kind of science model and you send it off to Google they run it to the system and then spit out the data back to you.
Um, the concerns would be of course data security and transmitting anything like that over through the internet is going to be a concern for some people So some people.
Think that’s going to basically be what it is for the the near term.
Can imagine some corporations would be like we don’t want to be sharing in that way. Another another issue could be data corruption. You wouldn’t want to be transmitting stuff and have it turn out that your numbers didn’t get crunched correctly because bad data in bad data out.
Um, and on a personal level an individual. How much do you see ownership as being an aspect of this the idea that I own my phone or I own my car. Do you see this running into the idea of.
Oh man.
Do people just like owning things and would this kind of Cloud environment break that in a way that would.
Your you’re taking you bring this to like Mike I want to turn that question to you and see what you think because it’s like we’re in, you’re you’re going into like the right to repair and what does it mean to own something we’re losing a lot of that control right now where a lot of that.
Wrap. Yeah, right. Um, yeah.
What software is is going up into the corporation and we no longer own software I pay for an Adobe Creative cloud subscription I no longer own a copy of Photoshop. So it’s like if I stop paying month to month I no longer have access to photoshop and it’s like.
Um, yeah.
Um, yeah.
There’s this aspect where all this stuff is going out in the Cloud and we’re losing control and we can’t really repair our phones easily anymore we can’t repair replace our cars easily anymore. So It’s like you’re you’re going into kind of a quagmire of like what do you think I turned on you. What? what? do you think about this. The the way this is heading where do you?? What? what? do you think about it.
Um I think it’s an interesting. It’s it’s a pretty big paradigm shift and it’s one that makes me think about like if you take somebody from today and you take them back 500 years and you don’t talk to the individuals five hundred years ago about technology. You don’t talk to them about historical events. But you just talk to them about what day-to-day life would look like the types of.
And then.
Freedoms and expectations that we deal with on a day-to-day basis would sound to somebody from five hundred years ago like an absolute fiction. It wouldn’t that there would be aspects of our day that they simply would not understand. Um, you know you. Now our full time Youtuber this is what your third career. Ah. To go to somebody five hundred years ago and say you had effectively redesigned your entire life around multiple careers within your lifetime that alone would be like what do you mean What is a career. Like we wouldn’t be able to in some ways communicate around these differences. It’s it’s ah such a a mind shift and I feel like something like quantum computing the the realities that it. Could bring about and you described several of them in your video everything from stock market predictions weather predictions being able to analyze molecular interactions being able to design things with yeah future battery tech future. Personal computer tech. Yeah, the the ability of a quantum computer to unlock something like better cell technology better ways of compressing data so that you could end up speeding our cloud systems up even faster the data. Power behind Ai technologies and you know we don’t even need to scratch the surface of that for that to be strange and terrifying at the same time. The the realities of what might come about as a result of of these developments. I don’t know that we have the ability to truly forecast what this could mean for 100 years from now for our grandchildren for that generation. You know, two generations ahead where they would be looking at ways that. This is simply a part of the air around them and the ideas of ownership. Um, yeah I keep going back to something you mentioned in a previous episode about the idealistic.
Star Trek future of things just are things just need to be done. Things will be done because they need to be done. There will be people who will do them because they want to do them and there will be other people who want to do other things and this feels like it’s part of that fabric to me.
The ability for something like this to be solving problems at a scale like I I believe I read something about the early days of the research into the covid vaccine. Believe there was an aspect of that that was reported about involving quantum computers running numbers like that kind of thing was taking place and the speed with which the covid vaccine was developed was one of the sticking points.
For some people about why they didn’t trust it. This is too fast. Um.
But that that’s the thing that we’re seeing right now is that the the rate of innovation the amount of time it takes for the innovation to become adapted is getting shorter and it’s been happening over the past one hundred years getting shorter and shorter and shorter and with something like quantum computers. It’s going to accelerate that even more because we can.
Do these calculations of how these molecular interactions will happen in a virtual space in a fraction of the time that would take us in the real world to test it out. So imagine what vaccines are going to be like 30 years from now 40 years from now with this kind of technology as it gets more and more perfected and becomes more mainstream. It’s. To me, it kind of makes my brain hurt a little bit and I get where you’re coming from of it’s like if you think about our parents mom and dad when we were kids and we grew up with the commodo 64 and it was like as a kid as a kid. It was like the air I breathe and it was like this is the future. This is so cool. It’s like video games at my house I don’t have to go to the arcade anymore and like. I can do so much with this and it was I could see exactly where it was going mom dad were kind of like I don’t understand this newfangled computer you got here and it was I don’t know why it become southern but it was it was. That’s how I feel about quantum computers. It makes my brain hurt a little bit. I think about how quantum computers work and what it could mean it’s like in concept I get a high level concept as to where it’s going but I still can’t really quite project. How much is going to change life in the future. Whether it’s going to be a good thing or a bad thing.
Um, yeah.
Whether the cloud and losing ownership of some of the stuff is a good thing or a bad thing I think it’s all about tradeoffs and we’re going to have to fumble through this and learn as we go because it’s going to be really hard to predict.
Yeah, putting some of this into perspective was this comment from Dan Evander senior who wrote I’m old enough 80 in September to have watched computer technology go from zero to what it is today. After I left the air force in 1964 I studied and entered the world of computers and never looked back I took physics classes back in my college days but still find it daunting to comprehend quantum computing and where it may lead I hope we realize the promise goodness knows the human species will need it if we expect to still be here in the twenty second century thought that that was quite an interesting way of framing this from Mr Evander and Dan if you’re listening ah tip of the hat to you for being a part of that development and for such a long time. So it’s it’s.
Quite an impressive feat and then there was this from Antoni who wrote if they’re already using this in scientific research labs. We could see this in the commercial market in a few decades computers were a thing even in the 1950 s though they were the size of a bus. Data storage was low. Density drives were megabytes in size but the size of refrigerators or washing machines now seventy years later you’re watching this on a machine that’s more capable than anyone who was alive back then could even conceive of or imagine to make sense and I think that’s what you and I have been talking about is. Yeah, we walk around with computers in our pockets now and you mentioned the aspects when we were kids of oh we’re playing video games in our home if you were to say I remember the first time I heard somebody who worked on cars say what drove them. Out of being able to work on cars was the introduction of computers into cars. It changed their ability like it used to be. You could open up the hood and you could take the thing apart. You could put it back together and turn the key and it would run and he said now if you take the thing apart and put it back together and you don’t know what you’re doing with that computer.
Not going to run. So I think it it’s it goes hand in hand. The the sophistication of these things that we take for granted some people own refrigerators that will tell them when they’re running out of certain items.
I just had my son show up at my door and say dad. We don’t have any food and I was like when was the last time I went shopping? Oh no, so something like a refrigerator that would say you’re out of milk that would be a a handy little gadget. And then there’s the aspect of it which is well do we really want things that are paying that much attention in our homes and in our lives and if you mentioned tradeoffs and I think that what we’re looking at with what this could lead to is effectively no different than what we are currently seeing today. And a certain level a quantum computer isn’t going to be more or less invasive than the phone I have in my pocket. It is simply a different aspect of computing power.
Correct to to tap into that. Um, this is something I’ve always heard about quantum computers when they become a thing is that because of the way they calculate they could brute force a password in a fraction of a time. So it’s like. Essentially quantum computers would essentially break how we keep things secure today. So any kind of security we have just be meaningless and so it’s like a holy crap. What do we do and the thing to bring that point back to what you just said. It’s not that it’s dangerous for what we did today or anything like that. It’s ah it’s gonna be a new thing. Because the security with any quantum computer is believed to be unbreakable and I had I saw some comments in and in the early day the early hours of this going out where people were saying I kind of equated it to like. Being like faster than light communication and that’s not how this works that’s not how so you know the tankment works and even for people who know some of this stuff I don’t think they understand the full scope because I didn’t talk about this in the video at all and somebody on my Discord server brought this up of there was an article just came up recently from a researcher where you. You can take multiple you can take two quantum machines and you can create a quantum network and if you once you get them in sync and entangled they are communicating between each other instantly and there’s no way. There’s no way you can interject yourself in the middle and.
Unentangled right.
And untangle it. So it’s 100% secure so it’s like okay, it’s going to break security of the old way of doing things but the new way of doing things is actually going to be even more secure in this paper that came out recently was they finally these researchers have created and found ways to entangle 3 computers three machines. And it was I read how they did it and I’m still trying to rub my head around how they did it but it was like first you do this, you have like this fiber optic cable and use photons to put these 2 and entangle them together and then you put these two together and you entangle them which now means all 3 are now entangled which means they all can communicate amongst each other in real time and it’s.
Um, right.
And then once they’re entangled. You’re good and so it’s like this is such a mind trip and hard to wrap your head around I think even people who are aware of Quantum computers and how all this entanglement works. They still don’t understand completely how it works because it was like there were people saying this does not mean faster than light communication. It’s like well yeah, here’s a research team. That’s.
Creat Quantum Networks. It’s like that kind of flies in the face. What you just said over here. So’s I think we all have to collectively understand we don’t know what the hell we’re doing and talking about as laypeople. It’s like the people that are like deep into the research are really the only people we can look to and have them explain how it actually works it. It’s.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Yeah I remember reading years ago about quantum entanglement and it effectively being like if you have the ability to manipulate a thing over here and it instantly is also manipulating a thing over there then you effectively have the ability to instantly communicate.
So mind trip.
And regardless of a distance and so that means oh you entangle these 2 computers in these different locations and then you take one of them and you take it somewhere else doesn’t matter how far away it’s that kind of freakishness that is. Ah, you you mention things like Schrodinger’s cat the idea of a quarter that you flip in the air and it ever lands the the thing about quantum mechanics is it is effectively from our perspective magic because we cannot experience it. We experience the newtonian rules. Throw an apple in the air. It’s going to come down. It’s going to hit me on the head and I know gravity is working ah quantum quantum perspectives don’t work in that way and it’s that’s where that’s where magic comes in and yeah.
I’m smart enough to say Yeah I’m so I’m smart enough to say I don’t know what the hell is going on with Quantum physics. It’s like I am fascinated by it I have a very high level understanding of it and that’s as far as I can get because my brain just shuts down at a certain point of Like. Um, and have to trust you on this because I don’t understand the underlying physics of what you’re talking about.
And you’re not alone in that because as quantum physics was being developed. There were ongoing arguments amongst physicists including Einstein and Niels Bohr who would argue against specific ideas because they couldn’t make that leap yet. They couldn’t see numbers and they couldn’t make make that leap and it is physics is ah is a realm that feels very much like it’s arguing about numbers. It’s yeah, will not 3 2 well not two 3 what does that mean, what is argue in that way

So a large part of this conversation has been around the theory of what this means and I’m curious from the listeners. What do you? all? think this means will we see these things in our home. Do you think we’ll just see them in the form of. Better weather predictions more accurate stock market predictions removal of issues like if you are tapping into a Gps system that is using quantum computing to pay attention to what’s going on the on the road will you end up just getting. Perfect directions to locations that avoid all issues with driving or will we even be driving our cars at all will the cars just simply have a quantum computer sending all the cars to the right locations. Let us know where you think this might end up. We’d really like to know. Can find the contact information in the podcast description of course and if you’re watching this on Youtube just scroll down to the bottom of the video and leave a comment there. Don’t forget to leave a review you can review us on Apple Podcasts google podcast Spotify wherever it is that you listen if you’d like to more directly support us. You can go to still tbd fm. Click on the become a supporter button and you can throw coins at our heads and believe it or not we love that Don’t forget if you’re watching us on Youtube you can also click the join button there and become a member that way all of these really helped support the show. We. Thank you so much for your support. And we’ll talk to you next time.

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