How will Quantum change my day-to-day life?

February 7, 2024

Quantum physics, often regarded as an abstract and complex field, has a deep impact on our daily lives, even if we are not always aware of it. From information technologies to advanced medical devices, the influence of quantum mechanics is omnipresent.

How did we get here?

It was in the early 20th century that the first quantum revolution took place with the formulation of quantum mechanics, which revolutionised our understanding of the fundamental nature of matter and energy. Key aspects of this theory include wave-particle duality, quantum superposition, quantum field theory, the uncertainty principle and the development of quantum chemistry. Thanks to this revolution we now have laser diodes, electron microscopes, magnetic resonance imaging and barcode scanners, among others.

The second quantum revolution, in which we are still immersed, began in the 21st century, with the development of large quantum computers, such as Google’s Sycamore, capable of performing tasks in minutes that would take traditional computers thousands of years. This historic milestone opened the way to a new path of anticipation, experimentation and new possibilities for the entire scientific and technological community.

To understand the revolution in which we are immersed, it is essential to dive into the world of quantum mechanics. Unlike classical binary logic, where bits can be either 0 or 1, quantum computing is based on qubits that can exist in multiple states simultaneously thanks to the phenomenon of quantum superposition. This fact opens the door to exponentially greater processing power, challenging all the limits of traditional computers.

Imagine solving complex problems such as optimising logistical routes or simulating molecules for drug discovery more efficiently, offering solutions in times that were previously unthinkable. Quantum computing now has the potential to address these challenges at speeds that seemed utopian just a few years ago.

We are at the dawn of a new technological era, where quantum computing promises to open up previously unexplored avenues. As scientists and engineers work to overcome the technical challenges, we as a society must embrace this revolution with caution and anticipation. Quantum computing invites us to explore the unknown, challenging our limits and redefining the technological landscape.

However, quantum computing is not only responsible for the second quantum revolution, but is one of the four pillars that make up the second quantum revolution. The other three pillars are: sensors and metrology, communications and cryptography, and quantum simulations and algorithms.

Quantum’s presence in our daily lives

Quantum extends to every corner of our daily lives and is a fundamental driver of progress in the 21st century. To cite a few examples, it is behind the LED and OLED screens present in televisions, smartphones or screen monitors, in high-precision medical diagnostic equipment capable of performing quantum magnetic resonance imaging, in solar energy capable of harnessing the quantum conversion of sunlight, in electricity or in quantum communications, giving privacy and security to the exchange of information thanks to quantum cryptography.

Challenges and opportunities posed by the quantum revolution

Like any technological breakthrough, the second quantum revolution raises ethical and social issues. The possibility of solving complex problems could have a significant impact on the economy, medicine and other fields, but it also raises questions about security and privacy, social inequalities and the impact on employment. To date, experts are unanimous in stating that we are not yet able to know the real scope of quantum and we are unaware of all the problems that could be solved through quantum technologies.

  • Security and privacy: The ability of quantum computers to quickly break conventional encryption algorithms raises concerns about data security and privacy. The need to develop new forms of quantum cryptography is crucial to maintain the integrity of information. This has given rise to post-quantum cryptography, which works towards cryptographic algorithms that are resistant to future attacks using quantum computing.
  • Social inequalities: Early adoption of quantum computing may widen the technological and economic gap between countries and communities. Ensuring equitable access and digital inclusion becomes an ethical challenge to avoid creating deepening social divides.
  • Employment impact: the increased efficiency of quantum computing could drastically change the nature of certain jobs, raising ethical questions about job relocation and the protection of affected workers. As we have already seen today with the rise of Artificial Intelligence, the advent of new technologies makes it difficult for society and workers to adapt to change, becoming permanently outdated. Likewise, quantum developments may represent a great opportunity for economic development for many countries, just as, for example, the commitment to the semiconductor industry in countries such as South Korea.

QCIRCLE, the European project that is committed to quantum technologies and led by ARQUIMEA

The European interest in delving into the four pillars that make up the second quantum revolution has led to the launch of the QCIRCLE project. This project aims to create a center of excellence in Spain for the development and research of the most promising quantum technologies. It will demonstrate the impact that quantum can have on society by promoting advances in environmental issues such as emissions in industry or transport, as well as in the early diagnosis of diseases.

Within the European Union’s Teaming call, ARQUIMEA Research Center, has been selected to lead this project from its headquarters located on the island of Tenerife, where more than 70 researchers are working on the development of disruptive technologies and business models that will serve as a driver of socio-economic growth in the future.

Find out more about this exciting project that aims to respond to European priorities and global challenges through research and innovation!




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