Linux and Technology blog

August 2, 2006

Quantum leap

Filed under: Technolgoy — rakeshvk @ 11:01 am

Brain prosthetics. Telepathy. Punctual flights. A futurist’s vision of where quantum computers will take us.

FORTUNE Magazine


By Peter Schwartz and Rita Koselka, Fortune Magazine


(Fortune Magazine) — She awakes early on the morning of April 10, 2030, in the capable hands of her suburban Chicago apartment. All night, microscopic sensors in her bedside tables have monitored her breathing, heart rate, and brain activity.

The tiny blood sample she gave her bathroom sink last night has been analyzed for free radicals and precancerous cells; the appropriate preventative drugs will be delivered to her hotel in Atlanta this evening. It’s an expensive service, but as a gene therapist, Sharon Oja knows it’s worth it.


e steps into the shower. The tiles inside detect her presence and start displaying the day’s top headlines. The manned mission to Mars is going to launch ahead of schedule. U.S. military drones have destroyed another terrorist training camp using smart dust. A top Manhattan banker has been found guilty of fraud and sentenced to 10 years of low tech.

And today is the 20th anniversary of the very first quantum computer.

Sharon laughs. It is her 24th birthday, and she has little idea what the world was like before the qubits – the smallest pieces of quantum information – took over.

She dresses and picks out a stylish straw fedora. Quantum computing has brought an unexpected revival in haberdashery: Inside the hatband is Sharon’s communication center and intelligent assistant, which has scanned and sorted the 500,000 e-mails she received overnight.

By the time she reaches the car, it has beamed the 10 most urgent ones and her travel schedule to her visual cortex. The text scrolls down in the bottom of her field of vision.

The Hydrogen Honda knows it is going to be an unseasonably warm day – indeed, thanks to quantum computer simulations it has known today’s temperature for five years – and rolls the top down for her. Sharon drives to the freeway, steers into the Smart Lane, then relinquishes the wheel. The hatband screens a birthday video from her parents and a super-encrypted memo from her boss.

At the airport there is no ticket check-in or security line. Sharon simply walks through the revolving door, which scans her for dangerous items, picks up her identity, confirms her reservation, and delivers her gate number, all in the space of a second. She doesn’t even bother to check whether the plane is on time – since flight patterns are as computable as the weather, O’Hare hasn’t had a late departure in five years.

At the bag drop-off, she sees a familiar man in a yarmulke-like brain cap. The hatband is already on the case and flashes his virtual business card alongside his top 10 Google (Charts) results. “Dr. Horton,” she calls out. “So nice to see you again. How was the diabetes conference?” Only the slightest flicker of Horton’s eyes betrays that he is Googling her details too. “Hello, Ms. Oja,” he says. “Many happy returns of the day.” Sharon grins and gives silent thanks to the quantum computer’s creators. >>>>


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