If you ask most people, they will usually tell you that quantum computers are still a few years away. Of course, that’s assuming that people you ask even know about them yet. A big reason for this is because these quantum computers have yet to prove themselves in the world of practical applications. Those who are following the developments of these quantum machines have already seen the impact it could have on business. However, what they are overlooking is the potential impact on social applications.
Everyone knows that a quantum computer would most likely be very adept at undertaking many logistical and optimization problems – and these are also what is needed to resolve lots of social issues. And since a quantum computer is also a digital technology, it will most certainly be very accessible and affordable to most social innovators and also nonprofits. And since quantum computing is so very powerful, people who first use it will be the first in history to share their ethics and values at a global scale.
Quantum Computers Taking on Logistical Problems
Several social problems we see daily are really just optimization and logistical problems. For example, how can we get service, goods, and people to the proper location fast and most efficiently? And how can we forecast how a cholera epidemic, the climate, and some other factor of our world behave across time?
The latest quantum computer from D-Wave has 2,048 qubits, which means it can take on a massive number of calculations between variables that are interrelated almost instantly.
This computer is capable of predicting almost every route that every single vehicle could take at any particular moment and map out the efficient path for each of those vehicles relative to all other vehicles. But we’ll be able to address more than just traffic. These computers will then optimize those vehicles in their quest in reducing fuel usage, eliminating pollution, and reducing car accidents. Also, it could streamline the movement of emergency vehicles such as ambulances, fire trucks, and police vehicles as they move through crowded cities.
Quantum Computers Will Become More Affordable
As with all new technologies, they are usually too expensive for average consumers when they first emerge. Yet, over time, they become very affordable and also more user-friendly – and with quantum computers, it is just a matter of time.
However, the quantum computer companies of today have already foreseen this trend and are taking steps to make these machines affordable. They are already developing software that is open source and they are loading the web with free tutorials and videos describing how these quantum computers will work. Microsoft actually has a Quantum Development Kit that can be utilized by anyone. And more importantly, many of them are looking to sell access to their quantum machines on the internet instead of selling these quantum computers themselves.
Quantum Computing is a Chance for Social Innovators to Lead
In addition to furnishing technical advancements, and because quantum computers are quite powerful, they are offering a unique opportunity to bring exciting new players into an exciting industry. When you can have quantum computers that can handle the traffic flow of taxis and cars throughout large cities, just imagine all the social problems that can be resolved with this kind of computing power.
It is very critical that those organizations that have strong morals and social apps enter this new field right from the start. Quantum machines are going to have a huge impact on society, and unfortunately, many of those uses will used for nefarious actions like solving encryptions, influencing financial markets, or assisting secret conversations for gangs and other violent groups.