The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed –William Gibson
As tool builders, it is only very recently that we’ve been able to use quantum mechanics. Understanding and manipulating quantum devices has been like getting an intoxicating new superpower—there are so many things we can now build that would have been impossible just a few years ago.
We encountered a few of these quantum technologies in the previous articles. Some of them, like the quantum dots in TVs, are already becoming commonplace; others, like optical clocks, exist but are still very rare.
As this is the last article in this series, I’d like to look to a near future where quantum technologies are likely to infuse our everyday existence. One does not have to look far—all of the technologies we’ll explore today already exist. Most of them are still rare, isolated in laboratories or as technology demonstrators. Others are hiding in plain sight, such as the MRI machine at the local hospital or the hard drive sitting on your desk. In this article, let’s focus on some of the technologies that we did not encounter in earlier articles: superconductivity, particle polarization, and quantum electronics.
As we look at these quantum technologies, envision what it will be like to live in a world where quantum devices are everywhere. What will it mean to be technically literate when knowing quantum mechanics is a prerequisite for understanding everyday technology?
So pick up your binoculars, and let’s look at the quantum technologies coming over the next ridge.