Today we round up 3 exciting news in science and technology and promising ideas around it…
1. Quantum Computing
If you are working in IT or studying science or even a bit curious about computing, you may already know, Quantum Computing is no longer some pie-in-the-sky theory but fast turning from fiction to fact.
In basic terms, the difference is, today’s computers use bits, 1 OR 0, i.e. ON or Off states (think of chalk and cheese) to calculate. However, Quantum computers use qubits (quantum bits), 1 AND 0, both together in something called a superimposed state (think of soup) so the number of permutations and combination of states is not only a lot more, the computing power is thousands of times faster.
This may sound over the top but if the laptop or smartphone you may be reading this on, is hundreds of times faster, than what you used 10 years back, with a fundamental shift in core technology (bits to qubits), ‘thousands of times’ is not so unreasonable!
As we speak, supercomputers tens of hundreds of times faster are already used by leading institutions and Google recently upgraded its quantum computer (yes, already made by D-Wave) to millions of times faster.
Skeptics may point out, we still have to wait 10 years before a ‘personal quanputer’ is available to you and me and that may well be the case but the fact remains, not only we have the building blocks for a quantum computer clearly in place, big time research is happening around the corner to build it for commercial use.
So, next if you hear anyone say ‘quantum computing’, please don’t hesitate to add your ‘two bits’ to it!
2. Asteroid Mining Rights
You heard that right! Unless you are living under a rock as opposed to above one (known as Earth), you can’t have missed the latest bill signed by the President of United States.
This is literally a marriage ‘made in heaven’ as astronomers have mapped out the skies for centuries while adventurous entrepreneurs have speculated where the next metals can be mined from, not only to bring down the high cost of precious stones but ease the hard human labor involved! It is no secret, metals and minerals found aboard asteroids are worth trillions of dollars and although, enough research papers are shared on how to get to rocks passing earth’s orbit, it still seemed out of mankind’s reach but with the historic landing on a comet in 2014, it has silenced critics and naysayers alike.
Further, with the signing of this visionary bill, private companies can send reusable rockets to space, mine and sell at cheaper prices (away from political interests and government monopoly) with the super-engineering task only involving robots, altogether removing any need for human labor…
On a related note, did you know if we could capture the Sun’s total output for even one second, it would meet the energy need of every single nation for one and a half billion years? Especially with state leaders now debating on how to tackle the environmental crisis and strain on earthly resources, in the backdrop.
Anyone up for that?
3. Printing 3D Style
You may not realize it but days of 2D printing is outnumbered cause 3D is slowly but surely making the slow and painful process of manufacturing, thing of the past. Think how color TV made black and white redundant!
Named the 3rd industrial revolution after birth of factory mechanization and later, assembly line production…3D is disrupting how thing-are-made.
Although the concept is not exactly new, in fact started in 1980, it was a complicated process with limited application but with the advance of robotics and growth of digital technology, it is coming out of the woodwork straight into living rooms and offices with ‘raw’ materials available online or in-store or bundled with the 3D printer itself.
The beauty of 3D printing is, unlike 2D which is subtractive process or you take a block of metal and carve out a shape (like making a sculpture), 3D is additive or you add material until it cranks out the object (like making a cake).
It is said, ‘a drop of ink can make a million think’. I hope custom printers can make sundry products also available at little or no cost to millions.
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Bhaskar Dutta is a self-help author and IT specialist based in London.