The future will be quantum or not. And tomorrow, what awaits us, is exciting. Quantum will allow us to do what we could only dream to date.
This is what José Ignacio Latorre, Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Barcelona, Director of the Pedro Pascual Benasque Science Center, and one of the most internationally renowned Spanish physicists in quantum physics.
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He has gone through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the European Nuclear Research Organization (CERN), Niels Bohr Institute and has seen his work in several awards.
We talked to him at the Cartagena Wall Festival, where he participated.
I recognize my ignorance: what is it about quantum physics?
I will try to explain it very synthetically.
When we come to the smallest world, the microscopic world, the laws that govern this world are not the same as the ones we see in our daily lives, the finer, the more peculiar laws.
However, the man, a little bit, in the XX century and the XXI century, has been able to understand them, and now we are in a position to use them to use them.
In the same way as the laws of the big world, the laws of classical physics, we understand them from Newton and with them we build bridges, we send ships if necessary, and we create machines that help us now people have reached control of the material. atomic level.
We are still in the childhood of quantum physics, we begin to understand it thoroughly.
In the twentieth century, we have made some practical applications, and now in the 21st century we are doing what is called the "second quantum revolution".
What practical applications of quantum physics have been made in the 20th century?
Well, thanks to modern quantum mechanics, we have all the communications, lasers, fiber …
We have a magnetic nuclear resonance in medicine that allows us to see the inside of the human body.
And the entire GPS system is based on the placement of atomic clocks in orbit on satellites that send a signal with impressive accuracy that allows us to know where we are on Earth.
Computers, on the other hand, use what is called Solid State Physics, that is, when there are many atoms with electrons, they move in the driving layers, and that is also quantum mechanics.
Therefore, all computer science, all chips, are based on quantum principles.
And it's added that there is now a second revolution in quantum physics …
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And what practical applications do you expect to achieve in the second quantum revolution?
The European Union, instead of me, has created four major pillars of progress in this regard.
One of them is quantum computing: creating computers directly with quantum laws.
The second is quantum communication: create cryptography and secure quantum communication.
The third is a quantum simulation that lets you explore materials, molecules …
The fourth is quantum sensors that will allow us to measure with great accuracy from motion sensors, which, for example, control the airplane wing vibrations to measure incredibly small magnetic fields.
And in medicine do you expect progress?
Of course Quantum computing will allow us to calculate much more efficient and powerful, and this is the leap that is needed for drug development.
Today we find medicines with trials and errors. We check the active ingredients and see if they work or not.
But people do not develop these active principles, we find them. We found penicillin, we don't know.
But if we had more powerful calculations, we could develop medicines.
So some of the areas that will have a greater impact on quantum computing are chemistry, biochemistry, and its applications.
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Some colleagues have told me that quantum computers will be so powerful that, simply by analyzing personal photos on social networks, they can determine whether they are suffering or suffering from any disease …
We can do it nowadays with deep neural networks. Everything about image recognition has seen a big leap over the last ten years thanks to in-depth network learning.
It has no quantum computer.
Image recognition requires computing power, but not brutal power, not a quantum computer.
It also requires better algorithms, and when we reach them, it works.
The quantum computer solves even more complicated problems than hitherto, but so far we haven't.
We have some prototypes, nothing more. But as we develop, we can attack more serious problems.
Artificial intelligence will develop tremendously in the coming years. Can it reach and even exceed human intelligence?
It's a big and deep discussion.
The intellect you are replying to is called general artificial intelligence, and it would be an artificial intelligence that is indistinguishable from human intelligence.
It will not happen in five years, but of course it will happen.
There are many people who say it will never happen, but for those who work on it, there is no doubt that it will only be a matter of time to move forward.
A little bit of all our decisions about artificial intelligence are delegated.
Example: Barcelona Water Treatment is a process that was controlled by people two years ago, but now it is artificial intelligence.
And quantum computing will help create even more powerful artificial intelligence.
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The study says that in 2050 there will be more relationships between a human and a human partner than a human and a human partner. Do you think it will be like that?
One of the things that clearly comes is that older people who are alone will be an artificial company: there will be a friendly voice that will invite them and be able to maintain a dialogue with them. This is something falling.
There are studies in Barcelona that there are 150,000 widows who have not walked the street.
And the attention of these people will be delegated to artificial intelligence. We'll die with a robot hand.
Or is there a relationship between people and robots? If I don't think there is a technology to create human aspects with the human voice, what happens is that their price is still very high …
Yes, there are already several companies developing humanoid robots. But have you heard of an alarming valley theory?
According to this theory, since humanoid robots are more real, they cause rejection.
People love a robot like Wall-e, one of the same-name films or Star Wars.
But when they start to have very real humanoid elements and they start to noise for you and things, people are returning.
Therefore, the adoption of artificial intelligence in the form of a human robot may take a long time.
But the voice form or assistant will become more common.
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Do quantum physics often not touch science fiction? Explore phenomena that often seem like fantasy …
Someone said that progressive science is no different from magic. It's a great phrase.
The fact that someone, thanks to GPS, knows, for example, your exact location seems to be magic.
But there are 24 satellites around the Earth that send very accurate signals.
Science is, of course, a big limit.
But science fiction is a very necessary genre for me because it helps us think and prepare for the future.
For example, "2001: The Odyssey in Space" is a great movie where the basic questions are already about what happens when artificial intelligence is too strong.
If we ever teleport, will it be thanks to Quantum Physics?
Yes, for example, telecommunications has already been done, the information is teleported.
You have an atom at some point on Earth in a certain position: you're excited, you're not excited to be.
A protocol has been created to pass this information on to another atom on another Earth.
Not being transported, just information. This protocol uses a protocol based on quantum ideas, such as grip.
Well: China has now deployed a satellite called Micius and has been able to distribute mixed countries for 7,000 kilometers.
It is a quantum state that is divided into two places on Earth, which allows you to transport information from one place to another.
In China, rapid speed is moving forward and surpassing certain things in Europe and America.
Currently, there is a great geopolitical struggle for computing and quantum communication.
There are three players in this great war: the United States, China and Europe. And, of course, Europe is lagging behind.
But can there be a movement of people?
From macroscopic beings? No, no, no.
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Of course, what I will ask you seems a bit absurd. Reality, what is our feeling that we touch, what we see, what we smell, what we taste, does it really exist?
Well, it is a very profound philosophical discussion that begins much earlier than quantum mechanics and tries to determine whether there is a difference between the absolute reality and what the human brain perceives when there is a difference between the outside world and the human mind.
It is a discussion that begins with Descartes and is turning around when quantum mechanics arrive.
Quantum mechanics do not get involved, knowing whether there is reality, it just indicates that if we measure, we will get such a result, nothing more.
But what's out there when it's not measured, quantum mechanics say nothing.
It is much more humiliating science than it seems; humble but incredibly powerful. This is a paradox.
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I asked him not as a quantum physicist, but as José Ignacio Latorre. Do you think there is a reality?
I want to believe there is a reality.
You think we will not need structures for three centuries. Can you explain this to me?
Is that why we want the body?
The following reasoning is as follows: almost all of us fill our body, for example, use glasses, there are people who wear dentures.
We are also chemically refining our body: we get medicines without stopping, we change body chemistry to live longer, live better.
And we also assume we can create something more fun than the reality itself: we go to movies, read novels …
With all this, our brains are happier than with reality, because going to the movies replaces reality with fictional reality.
Very little people who lose a member, we put artificial, those who do not hear well, we give a good hearing aid.
That is, we substitute a little bit of our body parts with others who send a signal that is equivalent to the brain.
Because the boss is the brain. Our whole body is a servant of the brain, nothing more.
And in this way, very little, I believe that for half a century, our bodies will become weaker, replaceable.
And in this scenario it is unthinkable that there will be no structure one day.
But I have to tell you that it hasn't invented me all, it has been written for a long time.
But what will we have, just the brain?
Well, it's like it's in the Matrix movie.
But then we can't reproduce …
And why reproduction must be so far? And why should there be a biological brain?
They can be silicon substrates, they can be all information in another format. We can have a link in evolution.
Just like jellyfish, there was a diplodocentre, one day you can say there are people.
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Link to what? What will happen to us?
The theory of Singularity indicates that a machine that is strong enough to improve itself will enter the chain of unstoppable improvement and will surpass us.
Will we then be immortal? No body, no death …
Effective There is a very deep discussion, and if we become immortal, time will disappear.
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The quantum world that comes up raises many ethical problems. What is most important to your opinion?
The first major challenge we face is the traceability of programs to find out who has made them, what criteria to understand, who is and what is the decision-making capability of the mechanisms.
There are very interesting ideas in this respect because its artificial intelligence determines its ethics.
I like this idea: because people are so bad with ethics, maybe artificial intelligence is better.
This would involve studying the history of mankind, searching for good principles, and incorporating it into artificial intelligence.
I have left my life, I am afraid I will not see it, but I believe it will happen in the long run.
* This article is part of Hayah Cartagena's digital version, a meeting of writers and thinkers taking place in this Colombian city from January 31, 2019 to February 3, 2019.
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