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The Evolutionary Perspective
Daily Archives: January 28, 2020
Posted: January 28, 2020 at 8:45 am
Regarding todays dominant Facebook/iPhone digital connective culture, conservative New York Times editorialist Bret Stephens critiques the impact of our eras instant communication and endless websites. Far from increasing important knowledge to enhance personal prosperity and individual happiness, we swim like homeless hominids in this digital connective culture (DCC) that causes "a kind of shallowing of our inner life," according to Stephens (see 4.1.1. Books).
Im a backcountry hiker and outdoor columnist, and lately have followed John Ruskins sublime footsteps into wild nature seeking repeated deep time episodes. In repetitive forest bathing hikes, one finds urban detox, mental rejuvenation and those crucial oceanic feelings that rewild the spirit. Rewilding, juvenescence, forest immersion, hill-country music and awe-stricken moments surrounded by Earths green beauty absolutely will compel a mental reawakening. We need new terms or new word combinations to describe the postmodern ennui and depressions sprouting all around us in the Anthropocenes harrowing DCC.
Shallowing is not actually a word, but Stephens neologism fits a new concept demanded by the infowars and "fake news" of this early Anthropocene. Like juvenescence, adjacentcy and forest bathing, the shallowing description helps me figure out whats going awry in so many westerners spirit-lives (see 4.1.1. for adjacentcy). Depression and deteriorating mental health among millennials certainly terrify everyone in America today.
The vast and ever-expanding Internet "meridians" apparently cover everything there is, but this proto neural membrane is also incredibly thin so while we know more and more and also more quickly, its usually about less and less. As a world culture, weve fallen into left-brain overspecialization again. (I covered left-brain vs. right-brain neurologies in my recent column.)
Inner resilience emerges out of the outdoor interludes that humans truly require. We can follow the animistic example of our Stone Age ancestors, and especially as urbanization/digitalization/optimization race ever onward. When your life is one of constant optimization, youre never free and you can never fully relax, as eloquent millennial Jia Tolentino points out describing todays ideal woman of the DCC
good looks, the impression of indefinitely extended youth, advanced skillsof self-presentation and self-surveillance. The ideal woman, in otherwords, is always optimizing. She takes advantage of technology. Herhair looks expensive. She spends lots of money taking care of her skin The same is true of her body. it has been pre-shaped by exercise thatensures there is little to conceal or rearrange. Everything about thiswoman has been preemptively controlled to the point that she canafford the impression of spontaneity .
Similarly, most adult humans, especially the mournful millennials, must relearn Stone Age ways I strongly recommend a process of rewilding the mind and spirit. Neo-animism (my neologism) simply means re-enchanting the world and holding off the de-animating digital destruction. The process commences with simple outings in or near green nature; its what I pushed in "Eternal Backcountry Return" (constant walking). Millennials, Gen-Xers, boomers, weve all got to re-valuate the manifest advantages in paleo thinking.
This curative process embodies the call for a renewed animism for the Anthropocene Ive dubbed this way of thinking neo-animism. The inanimate is indubitably as alive in those holy boulders shown in another column as in the dancing bees buzzing about my face. The ancient Mesopotamians even worshipped the life-force in Salt (their famous Hymn to Salt prayer), although left-brainers see only the NaCl formula. The left brains revenge on the right brain is to suffocate the wide-angle communal viewpoint.
In our collective shallowing, weve lost the appreciation for the life and life-giving force in natures inanimate stone artifacts, including mountains and exotic canyons. Perhaps it is less a shallowing than an extraordinary widening that some minds cannot comprehend or stretch to. If everything is indeed alive, then the individuals cosmos feels very different to her than in our hyper-kinetic speedy DCC.
If a reader struggles with the interpretation offered in the idea of living boulders in the field near Hurricane Deck, or seeking wisdom in places, then she should realize she might profit from extended forest bathing jaunts as she begins the neo-animism process.
After postmodernism comes post-humanism, and with the latter my neo-animism emerges as a necessary corollary.
In neo-animism, we conjure the image of the natural world working on us humans, not the other way round. Guardian columnist George Monbiot argues for a radical political rewilding that can mirror natures own rewilding processes. Rewilding allowing dynamic, spontaneous organization to reassert itself leads to organic complexity, and need not be exclusively top-down the way our politics are today (Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, President Trump, Kim Jong-un, Mark Zuckerberg).
Bruno Latour argues that were all actually climate skeptics: Whatever our intentions, we all act as if climate change is not real. In the same vein, most of us live our lives in some child-like state where we all act as if human life isnt time-limited. However, human lives are indeed time-limited as Buddha constantly said, and refusing to honor this crucial condition makes us weak, and also sometimes violent.
My neo-animism resembles an eco-theism where the actual planet Gaia is our church/temple/mosque (a kind of pantheism). The demands in "Facing Gaia" form a moral imperative and enhance a novel mode of experience. In a new politics for this human-created Anthropocene Era, neo-animism joins with radical post-humanism to ask fundamental questions of us, like:
Shouldnt there be fewer people?
Should 90 percent of the humongous herds of cows and pigs be culled (killed off)?
Why not rewild locally by returning grizzly bears to the San Rafael Wilderness?
How can humans accord natural rights to the evolved animals on this Gaia?
The 19th century Romantic right-brain view of physical nature was replaced by the left-brain dominant scientific view that justified any activity to wrest more value (resources) from Gaias rich body. This Industrial Age left-brain dominance allies seamlessly with the DCC today, and thus fosters that shallowing of so many human minds and imaginations.
The first step in resisting the corrosive DCC is to buy sturdy shoes or boots, and begin a regular hiking program in or near our backcountry. The Eternal Backcountry Return beckons, and certainly bring your children along!
Books and articles: For my term adjacentcy, it defines the way densely populated California urban zones lay next to wild and wilderness zones, see my Autobiography in the Anthropocene, p. 60 and passim). Stephens quote: New York Times, Dec. 21, 2019. For Tolentino quote: Jia Tolentino, "Trick Mirror," p. 64; Bruno Latour, "Facing Gaia" (Polity 2017); J. Purdy, "After Nature A Politics for the Anthropocene" (2015), discusses the "new animism," 272-275; George Monbiot: click here.
Dan McCaslin is the author of Stone Anchors in Antiquity and has written extensively about the local backcountry. His latest book, Autobiography in the Anthropocene, is available at Lulu.com. He serves as an archaeological site steward for the U.S. Forest Service in the Los Padres National Forest. He welcomes reader ideas for future Noozhawk columns, and can be reached at [emailprotected]. Click here to read additional columns. The opinions expressed are his own.
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Dan McCaslin: Nature and Shallowing the Mind - Noozhawk
Posted: at 8:42 am
Two years ago, documentarian Matt Wolf was poking around the internet when he came across a striking image of eight people in red jumpsuits in front of a glass pyramid. I thought it was a still from a science fiction film, he said. Then I realized it was real.
Wolf and I were in the back of an ice cream parlor in Park City, Utaha plastic cow in a cowboy hat just inches awaydiscussing his new film, Spaceship Earth. Finished just in time for Sundance, its a fascinating portrait of a late-60s counterculture theater group that somehow ended up in the Arizona desert, leading the $200 million scientific research facility Biosphere 2.
The Biosphere 2 experiment documented in Spaceship Earth lasted from 1991 to 1993. Eight individuals across different scientific practices entered an enormous, closed ecosystem intended to replicate all of the diversity of eartha.k.a. Biosphere 1then sealed the doors behind them. The idea was that they would both lead experiments and be the experiment, in a medical as well as sociological manner. The goals were simultaneously altruistic (we may one day need to colonize Mars if we truly screw up our environment) and also profit-driven (we can sell any proprietary technologies we stumble upon).
Biosphere 2 became a tourist attraction and fixture on the nightly news; as a result, there were, to put it mildly, unforeseen complications. Then came a twist ending involving bad faith business practices and a young banker who went on to become one of the 21st centurys most notorious villains. (No spoilers, but you can Google it!)
Spaceship Earth is the fourth feature for Wolf, a sharp-witted, San Jose-bred, New York-based 30-something and Guggenheim Fellow. In 2019, he released Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project, the remarkable story of a woman who obsessively taped television for decadesamassing a one-of-a-kind library while simultaneously ruining her own life. Prior to that came Teenage, based on Jon Savages book about the origin of the 20th century concept of adolescence, and Wild Combination, a heartbreaking portrait of musician Arthur Russell, whose work was rediscovered long after his death from AIDS in 1992. In between came a number of shorts, including Its Me, Hilary: The Man Who Drew Eloise, starring Lena Dunham and everyones favorite Plaza Hotel-dwelling little girl, plus a stint as cocurator of film for the 2019 Whitney Biennial.
His subjects seem at first to have little in common with one another. Im interested in outsider visionary figures who beg for reappraisal, he said when pressed for a recurring theme. He called them hidden histories. Each time he uses a similar method: culling material from an enormous, oftentimes never-before-touched archive. His ideas are frequently born from discovering something weird online.
Wolf was just a kid when the first Biosphere 2 experiment was launchedthough, like the rest of us, he does remember the Pauly Shore film Bio-Dome. The second he learned its story, though, he was absolutely determined to make the film. When the living Biospherians welcomed him and opened their enormous archive of 16mm film and Hi8 video, he recognized an urgency to get this story, with its environmentalist and late capitalist implications, out now.
Despite being initially dazzled by the theatricality of Biosphere 2s look, Wolf does not consider himself a sci-fi guy. He was a shy kid, he told me, and up until his mid-20s, his friends were always older. At the age of 16, he responded to an ad in a queer youth center in San Francisco and ended up the novelty young intern, working on a documentary about Harry Haythe gay activist who cofounded the Mattachine Society and, very in tune with Wolfs later work, the countercultural, anarchic, and spiritual group called the Radical Faeries.
Posted: at 8:42 am
Tesla Inc. (TSLA) designs, develops, manufactures, and sells electric vehicles and energy generation and storage systems in the United States, China, the Netherlands, Norway, and around the globe. The company has two segments, automotive and energy generation and storage.
Elon Musk, the founder of the company and guiding force behind its innovation, has been a controversial character. While he has more than a handful of detractors, he has developed a cult-like following. Since late 2019, Mr. Musk has been delivering for his shareholders in a big way. Last week, in Davos, Switzerland, US President Donald Trump, in an interview on CNBC, compared Elon Musk with Thomas Edison and the inventor of the wheel. The innovator has other interests outside of Tesla. His Boring Company is developing new modes of high-speed public transportation. SpaceX is working to reduce the cost of space transportation to enable the colonization of Mars. Mr. Musk is not the typical billionaire; he is a man who will go down in history as one of the most significant innovators of his time.
Meanwhile, those who believed in Mr. Musk have been reaping the rewards. The price of Tesla (TSLA) shares have exploded to the upside.
A bumpy ride for Tesla (TSLA) shares in 2019
There were times in 2019, where more than a few analysts believed that the cash burn at Tesla (TSLA) would force the company into bankruptcy.
As the chart shows, TSLA shares dropped to a low of $176.99 in June 2019, just seven months ago. The stock had more than halved in value from the late 2018 peak of $379.49. Only a handful of believers of Elon Musk remained bullish, and those who bought shares at below the $200 level were rewarded handsomely. Some analysts went as far as calling Mr. Musk a huckster with projections the shares were going to zero when the stock was on its low.
The stock explodes to the upside starting in late 2019 on Q3 earnings
The 2018 high in Tesla (TSLA) shares was $387.48. Just six months after the company was staring into the abyss last June, the stock surpassed the 2018 peak price and rose to a new all-time high in mid-December. The third quarter 2019 earnings blew the cover off the ball for Tesla as the profits beat consensus estimates decisively.
(Source: Yahoo Finance)
The chart shows that after missing consensus estimates for three consecutive quarters, Tesla (TSLA) earned $1.86 per share in Q3 when the market expected a loss of 42 cents.
(Source: Yahoo Finance)
The chart shows that Tesla (TSLA) shares exploded to the upside, to a high of $594.50, over three times the price in the low in June 2019. The stock closed at $564.82 on Friday, January 24.
In a sign that Mr. Musk has not made believers of all members of the analyst community, a survey of 30 analysts on Yahoo Finance has an average price target of only $368.35 on the stocks with a range between $61.57 and $810.51.
TSLA has a larger market cap than General Motors (GM) and Ford (F) combined
Tesla has come a long way since last June, and a correction in the stock would not be a surprise given its current lofty level. At the close of business last Friday, the company had a market cap of $101.806 billion. In a world where the top companies have valuations of over $1 trillion, the number may not be all that eye-popping. Meanwhile, the combined valuations of Ford Motor Company (F) and General Motors Company (GM) was at $84.705 billion at their respective share prices at the end of last week. Considering that Tesla (TSLA) has a higher valuation than a combination of the two companies that are institutions in the automobile manufacturing business, Mr. Musk has left his detractors with more than a little egg on their faces.
TSLA shares were trading at $545.25 per share on Monday morning, down $19.57 (-3.46%). Year-to-date, TSLA has gained 30.34%, versus a 0.57% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.
Andy spent nearly 35 years on Wall Street and is a sought-after commodity and futures trader, an options expert and analyst. In addition to working with ETFDailyNews, he is a top ranked author on Seeking Alpha. Learn more about Andys background, along with links to his most recent articles. More...
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TSLA: Shares of Tesla Leave GM and Ford In The Dust - StockNews.com
Posted: at 8:42 am
A pair of Harvard astrophysicists have proposed a wild theory of how life might have spread through the universe.
Millions or billions of years ago, back when the solar system was more crowded, a giant comet grazed the outer reaches of our atmosphere. It was moving fast, several tens of miles above the Earth's surface too high to burn up as a fireball, but low enough that the atmosphere slowed it down a little bit. Extremely hardy microbes were floating up there in its path, and some of those bugs survived the collision with the ball of ice. These microbes ended up embedded deep within the comet's porous surface, protected from the radiation of deep space as the comet rocketed away from Earth and eventually out of the solar system entirely. Tens of thousands, maybe millions, of years passed before the comet ended up in another solar system with habitable planets. Eventually, the object crashed into one of those planets, deposited the microbes a few of them still living and set up a new outpost for earthly life in the universe.
Related: 5 Reasons to Care About Asteroids
You could call it "interstellar panspermia," the seeding of distant star systems with exported life.
We have no idea whether this ever actually happened .and there's a mountain of reasons to be skeptical. But in a new paper, Amir Siraj and Avi Loeb, both astrophysicists at Harvard University, argue that at least the first part of this story the depositing of the microbes into a comet that gets ejected from the solar system should have happened between one and a few dozen times in Earth's history. Siraj told Live Science that although a lot more work needs to be done to back up the finding, it should be taken seriously and that the paper may have been, if anything, too conservative in its estimate of the number of life-exporting events.
While the study's concept may seem far-fetched, humanity is constantly confronted with seeming impossibilities, like Earth going around the sun, or quantum physics, or bacteria hitching a ride into the galaxy aboard a comet that turn out to be true, Siraj said
And there's been reason to suspect that it might be possible. A series of experiments using small rockets in the 1970s found colonies of bacteria in the upper atmosphere. Comets really do enter and leave our solar system from time to time, and Siraj and Loeb's calculations show that it's plausible, maybe even likely, this has happened to large comets that graze Earth. Comets are porous, and might actually shield microbes from deadly radiation some microbes can survive a remarkably long time in space.
That alone is reason for scientists to take the idea seriously, Siraj said, and for researchers from fields like biology to jump in and figure out some of the details.
"It's a brand new field of science," he told Live Science
However, Stephen Kane, an astrophysicist at the University of California, Riverside, told Live Science that he was deeply skeptical of the suggestion that microbes from Earth might have actually turned up alive on alien planets through some version of this process.
The first problem would occur when the comet slammed into the atmosphere, he said. Siraj and Loeb point out that some bacteria can survive extraordinary accelerations. But the precise mechanism by which the microbes would adhere to the comet is unclear, Kane said, since the aerodynamic forces around the comet might make it impossible for any microbes to reach the surface and work their way deep enough below the surface to be protected from radiation.
It's also not clear, he said, whether any microbes would really have been up high in our atmosphere in the first place Those rocket experiments from the 1970s are old and questionable, he said, and we still don't have a good picture of what the biology of the upper atmosphere really looks like today let alone hundreds of millions of years ago, when comet encounters were much more common.
The biggest question, though, Kane said, is what would happen to the microbes after they landed aboard the comet. It's plausible, he said, that some bacteria might survive decades in space long enough to reach, say, Mars. But there's little direct evidence that any bacteria might survive the thousands or millions of years necessary to travel to another habitable star system. And that's really the key idea of this paper: Researchers have long suggested that debris from major collisions might blast life around between our solar system's planets and moons. But exporting life to an alien star system likely requires a more specialized scenario.
Still, Kane said, the calculations in this study of how precisely a comet might skim through the atmosphere were new to him, and "very interesting."
Siraj didn't strongly challenge any of Kane's concerns, but reframed them one by one as opportunities for further study. He wants to know, he said, precisely what the biology of the upper atmosphere looks like, and how comets might react to it. There's reason to think that at least some bacteria might survive super-long trips through deep space, he said, based on how robust they are under extreme conditions on Earth and in orbit. But for now, it's time for scientists across fields to jump in and start filling in the gaps, Saraj said.
Originally published on Live Science.
Posted: at 8:42 am
The American science- fiction series, The Expanse, is confirmed to have a fifth season. Developed by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, it is based on the novel series of the same name, written by James S. A. Corey and the first three seasons aired initially on Syfy. The fourth season is an Amazon exclusive. The first three seasons are available on Amazon as well.
Release Date of Season 5
Season 5 of The Expense was confirmed before even the release of the fourth season. As per the official Twitter page of the series, the production of the fifth season has already begun in October 2019.
Season 1, of ten episodes, aired from 14th December 2015 to 2nd February 2016. The second season of thirteen was back in 2017 and broadcast from 1st February to April 19th. Season 3 of thirteen episodes, aired from April 11th, 2018 to June 26th, 2018. Season 4 of ten episodes released on the 13th of December, 2019, on Amazon Prime Video.
The Expanse Season 5 is expected to release in December 2020.
The series is set in the future. In a time when humans have colonized the solar system, Mars has become an independent militant power. The backdrop being, the rising tensions between Earth and Mars have brought them on the brink of war.
The investigation of a case about a missing woman leads to unveiling the biggest conspiracy in the history of humanity.
Season 4 was based on Cibola Burn. The fifth season is likely to the adaptation of Nemesis Games. In the new season, the introduction to some new characters is expected. Expanse crew will be shown trying to go back home amidst the inter- planetary rush.
Dominique Tipper, Steven Strait, Cas Anvar, Frankie Adams, Thomas Jane, Florence Faivre, Cara Gee, and Shawn Doyle will be seen in the leading roles. Other than them, Wes Chatham and Burn Gorman will be seen in central characters with Steven Strait.
The Expanse is very ahead- of- its- time, which piques the interest if viewers. Along with the love of the audience, the series has also received massive critical acclaim. Season 5 is something to look forward to.
Posted: at 8:42 am
Chimpanzees, human beings closest animal relatives, share up to 98 percent of our genes. Their human-like hands and facial expressions can send uncanny shivers of self-recognition down the backs of zoo patrons.
Yet people and chimpanzees lead very different lives. Fewer than 300,000 wild chimpanzees live in a few forested corners of Africa today, while humans have colonized every corner of the globe, from the Arctic tundra to the Kalahari Desert. At more than 7 billion, humans population dwarfs that of nearly all other mammalsdespite our physical weaknesses.
What could account for our species incredible evolutionary successes?
One obvious answer is our big brains. It could be that our raw intelligence gave us an unprecedented ability to think outside the box, innovating solutions to gnarly problems as people migrated across the globe. Think of The Martian, where Matt Damon, trapped alone in a research station on Mars, heroically sciences his way out of certain death.
But a growing number of cognitive scientists and anthropologists are rejecting that explanation. These researchers think that, rather than making our living as innovators, human beings survive and thrive precisely because we dont think for ourselves. Instead, people cope with challenging climates and ecological contexts by carefully copying othersespecially those we respect. Instead of Homo sapiens, or man the knower, were really Homo imitans: man the imitator.
In a famous study, psychologists Victoria Horner and Andrew Whiten showed two groups of test subjectschildren and chimpanzeesa mechanical box with a treat inside. In one condition, the box was opaque, while in the other it was transparent. The experimenters demonstrated how to open the box to retrieve a treat, but they also included the irrelevant step of tapping on the box with a stick.
Oddly, human children carefully copied all the steps to open the box, even when they could see that the stick had no practical effect. That is, they copied irrationally: Instead of doing only what was necessary to get their reward, children slavishly imitated every action theyd witnessed.
Of course, that study only included three and four year olds. But additional research has showed that older children and adults are even more likely to mindlessly copy others actions, and young infants are less likely to over-imitatethat is, to precisely copy even impractical actions.
By contrast, chimpanzees in Horner and Whitens study only over-imitated in the opaque condition. In the transparent conditionwhere they saw that the stick was mechanically uselessthey ignored that step entirely, merely opening the box with their hands. Other research has since supported these findings.
When it comes to copying, chimpanzees are more rational than human children or adults.
Where does the seemingly irrational human preference for over-imitation come from? In his book The Secret of Our Success, anthropologist Joseph Henrich points out that people around the world rely on technologies that are often so complex that no one can learn them rationally. Instead, people must learn them step by step, trusting in the wisdom of more experienced elders and peers.
For example, the best way to master making a bow is by observing successful hunters doing it, with the assumption that everything they do is important. As an inexperienced learner, you cant yet judge which steps are actually relevant. So when your bands best hunter waxes his bowstring with two fingers or touches his ear before drawing the string, you copy him.
The human propensity for over-imitation thus makes possible what anthropologists call cumulative culture: the long-term development of skills and technologies over generations. No single person might understand all the practical reasons behind each step to making a bow or carving a canoe, much less transforming rare earth minerals into iPhones. But as long as people copy with high fidelity, the technology gets transmitted.
Ritual and religion are also domains in which people carry out actions that arent connected in a tangible way with practical outcomes. For example, a Catholic priest blesses wafers and wine for Communion by uttering a series of repetitive words and doing odd motions with his hands. One could be forgiven for wondering what on Earth these ritualistic acts have to do with eating bread, just as a chimpanzee cant see any connection between tapping a stick and opening a box.
But rituals have a hidden effect: They bond people to one another and demonstrate cultural affiliation. For an enlightening negative example, consider a student who refuses to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. Her action clearly telegraphs her rejection of authorities right to tell her how to behave. And as anthropologist Roy Rappaport pointed out, ritual participation is binary: Either you say the pledge or you dont. This clarity makes it easily apparent who is or isnt committed to the group.
In a broader sense, then, over-imitation helps enable much of what comprises distinctively human culture, which turns out to be much more complicated than mechanical cause and effect.
At heart, human beings are not brave, self-reliant innovators, but careful if savvy conformists. We perform and imitate apparently impractical actions because doing so is the key to learning complex cultural skills, and because rituals create and sustain the cultural identities and solidarity we depend on for survival. Indeed, copying others is a powerful way to establish social rapport. For example, mimicking anothers body language can induce them to like and trust you more.
So the next time you hear someone arguing passionately that everyone should embrace nonconformity and avoid imitating others, you might chuckle a bit. Were not chimpanzees, after all.
This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.
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Why Imitation Is at the Heart of Being Human - Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley
Posted: at 8:41 am
by Tom Koulopoulos
The next era of computing will stretch our minds into a spooky new world that were just starting to understand.
In 1946 the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, or the ENIAC, was introduced. The worlds first commercial computer was intended to be used by the military to project the trajectory of missiles, doing in a few seconds what it would otherwise take a human mathematician about three days. Its 20,000 vacuum tubes (the glowing glass light bulb-like predecessors to the transistor) connected by 500,000 hand soldered wires were a marvel of human ingenuity and technology.
Imagine if it were possible to go back to the developers and users of that early marvel and make the case that in 70 years there would be ten billion computers worldwide and half of the worlds population would be walking around with computers 100,000,000 times as powerful as the ENIAC in their pants pockets.
Youd have been considered a lunatic!
I want you to keep that in mind as you resist the temptation to do the same to me because of what Im about to share.
Digital computers will soon reach the limits of demanding technologies such as AI. Consider just the impact of these two projection: by 2025 driverless cars alone may produce as much data as exists in the entire world today; fully digitizing every cell in the human body would exceed ten times all of the data stored globally today. In these and many more cases we need to find ways to deal with unprecedented amounts of data and complexity. Enter quantum computing.
Youve likely heard of quantum computing. Amazingly, its a concept as old as digital computers. However, you may have discounted it as a far off future thats about as relevant to your life as flying cars. Well, it may be time to reconsider. Quantum computing is progressing at a rate that is surprising even those who are building it.
Understanding what quantum computers are and how they work challenges much of what we know of not just computing, but the basics of how the physical world appears to operate. Quantum mechanics, the basis for quantum computing, describes the odd and non-intuitive way the universe operates at a sub-atomic level. Its part science, part theory, and part philosophy.
Classical digital computers use what are called bits, something most all of us are familiar with. A bit can be a one or a zero. Quantum computers use what are called qubits (quantum bits). A quibit can also be a one or a zero but it can also be an infinite number of possibilities in between the two. The thing about qubits is that while a digital bit is always either on (1) or off (0), a qubit is always in whats called a superposition state, neither on nor off.
Although its a rough analogy, think of a qubit as a spinning coin thats just been flipped in the dark. While its spinning is it heads or tails? Its at the same time both and neither until it stops spinning and we then shine a light on it. However, a binary bit is like a coin that has a switch to make it glow in the dark. If I asked you Is it glowing? there would only be two answers, yes or no, and those would not change as it spins.
Thats what a qubit is like when compared to a classical digital bit. A quibit does not have a state until you effectively shine a light on it, while a binary bit maintains its state until that state is manually or mechanically changed.
Dont get too hung up on that analogy because as you get deeper into the quantum world trying to use what we know of the physical world is always a very rough and ultimately flawed way to describe the way things operate at the quantum level of matter.
However, the difficulty in understanding how quantum computers works hasnt stopped their progress. Google engineers recently talked about how the quantum computers they are building are progressing so fast that that they may achieve the elusive goal of whats called quantum supremacy (the point at which quantum computers can exceed the ability of classical binary computer) within months. While that may be a bit of stretch, even conservative projections put us on a 5-year timeline for quantum supremacy.
Quantum vs Classical Computing
Quantum computers, which are built using these qubits, will not replace all classical digital computers, but they will become an indispensable part of how we use computers to model the world and to integrate artificial intelligence into our lives.
Quantum computing will be one of the most radical shifts in the history of science, likely outpacing any advances weve seen to date with prior technological revolutions, such as the advent of semiconductors. They will enable us to take on problems that would take even the most powerful classical supercomputers millions or even billions of years to solve. Thats not just because quantum computers are faster but because they can approach problem solving with massive parallelism using the qualities of how quantum particles behave.
The irony is that the same thing that makes quantum computers so difficult to understand, their harnessing of natures smallest particles, also gives them the ability to precisely simulate the biological world at its most detailed. This means that we can model everything from chemical reactions, to biology, to pharmaceuticals, to the inner workings of the universe, to the spread of pandemics, in ways that were simply impossible with classical computers.
A Higher Power
The reason for the all of the hype behind the rate at which quantum computers are evolving has to do with whats called doubly exponential growth.
The exponential growth that most of us are familiar with, and which is being talked about lately, refers to the classical doubling phenomenon. For example, Moores law, which projects the doubling in the density of transistors on a silicon chip every 18 months. Its hard to wrap our linear brains around exponential growth, but its nearly impossible to wrap them around doubly exponential growth.
Doubly exponential growth simply has no analog in the physical world. Doubly exponential growth means that you are raising a number to a power and then raising that to another power. It looks like this 510^10.
What this means is that while a binary computer can store 256 states with 8 bits (28), a quantum computer with eight qubits (recall that a qubit is the conceptual equivalent of a digital bit in a classical computer) can store 1077 bits of data! Thats a number with 77 zeros, or, to put it into perspective, scientists estimate that there are 1078 atoms in the entire visible universe.
Even Einstein had difficulty with entanglement calling it, spooky action at a distance.
By the way, just to further illustrate the point, if you add one more qubit the number of bits (or more precisely, states) that can be stored just jumped to 10154 (one more bit in a classical computer would only raise the capacity to 1078).
Heres whats really mind blowing about quantum computing (as if what we just described isnt already mind-blowing enough.) A single caffeine molecule is made up of 24 atoms and it can have 1048 quantum states (there are only 1050 atoms that make up the Earth). Modeling caffeine precisely is simply not possible with classical computers. Using the worlds fastest super computer it would take 100,000,000,000,000 times the age of the universe to process the 1048 calculations that represent all of the possible states of a caffeine molecule!
So, the obvious question is, How could any computer, quantum or otherwise, take on something of that magnitude? Well, how does nature do it? That cup of coffee youre drinking has trillions of caffeine molecules and nature is doing just fine handling all of the quantum states they are in. Since nature is a quantum machine what better way to model it than a quantum computer?
The other aspect of quantum computing that challenges our understanding of how the quantum world works is whats called entanglement. Entanglement describes a phenomenon in which two quantum particles are connected in such a way that no matter how great the distance between them they will both have the same state when they are measured.
At first blush that doesnt seem to be all that novel. After all, if I were to paint two balls red and then separate them by the distance of the universe, both would still be red. However, the state of a quantum object is always in whats called a superposition, meaning that it has no inherent state. Think of our coin flip example from earlier where the coin is in a superposition state until it stops spinning.
If instead of a color its two states were up or down it would always be in both states while also in neither state, that is until an observation or measurement forces it to pick a state. Again, think back to the spinning coin.
Now imagine two coins entangled and flipped simultaneously at different ends of the universe. Once you stop the spin of one coin and reveal that its heads the other coin would instantly stop spinning and also be heads.
If this makes your head hurt, youre in good company. Even Einstein had difficulty with entanglement calling it, spooky action at a distance. His concern was that the two objects couldnt communicate at a speed faster than the speed of light. Whats especially spooky about this phenomenon is that the two objects arent communicating at all in any classical sense of the term communication.
Entanglement creates the potential for all sorts of advances in computing, from how we create 100 percent secure communications against cyberthreats, to the ultimate possibility of teleportation.
Room For Possibility
So, should you run out a buy a quantum computer? Well, its not that easy. Qubits need to be super cooled and are exceptionally finicky particles that require an enormous room-sized apparatus and overhead. Not unlike the ENIAC once did.
You can however use a quantum computer for free or lease its use for more sophisticated applications For example, IBMs Q, is available both as an open source learning environment for anyone as well as a powerful tool for fintech users. However, Ill warn you that even if youre accustomed to programming computers, it will still feel as though youre teaching yourself to think in an entirely foreign language.
The truth is that we might as well be surrounded by 20,000 glowing vacuum tubes and 500,000 hand soldered wires. We can barely imagine what the impact of quantum computing will be in ten to twenty years. No more so than the early users of the ENIAC could have predicted the mind-boggling ways in which we use digital computers today.
Listen in to my two podcasts with scientists from IBM, MIT, and Harvard to find out more about quantum computing. Quantum Computing Part I, Quantum Computing Part II
This article was originally published on Inc.
Image credit: Pixabay
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Tom Koulopoulos is the author of 10 books and founder of the Delphi Group, a 25-year-old Boston-based think tank and a past Inc. 500 company that focuses on innovation and the future of business. He tweets from @tkspeaks.
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Global Enterprise Quantum Computing Market 2020 by Company, Regions, Type and Application, Forecast to 2024 – Science of Change
Posted: at 8:41 am
Scope of the Report:
The global Enterprise Quantum Computing market is valued at xx million USD in 2018 and is expected to reach xx million USD by the end of 2024, growing at a CAGR of xx% between 2019 and 2024.
The Asia-Pacific will occupy for more market share in following years, especially in China, also fast growing India and Southeast Asia regions.
North America, especially The United States, will still play an important role which cannot be ignored. Any changes from United States might affect the development trend of Enterprise Quantum Computing.
Europe also play important roles in global market, with market size of xx million USD in 2019 and will be xx million USD in 2024, with a CAGR of xx%.
This report studies the Enterprise Quantum Computing market status and outlook of Global and major regions, from angles of players, countries, product types and end industries; this report analyzes the top players in global market, and splits the Enterprise Quantum Computing market by product type and applications/end industries.
Market Segment by Companies, this report covers
Rigetti & Co, Inc.
D-Wave Systems Inc
QC Ware Corp.
Quantum Circuits, Inc.
Market Segment by Regions, regional analysis covers
North America (United States, Canada and Mexico)
Europe (Germany, France, UK, Russia and Italy)
Asia-Pacific (China, Japan, Korea, India and Southeast Asia)
South America (Brazil, Argentina, Colombia)
Middle East and Africa (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa)
Market Segment by Type, covers
Market Segment by Applications, can be divided into
Table of Contents
1 Enterprise Quantum Computing Market Overview
1.1 Product Overview and Scope of Enterprise Quantum Computing
1.2 Classification of Enterprise Quantum Computing by Types
1.2.1 Global Enterprise Quantum Computing Revenue Comparison by Types (2019-2024)
1.2.2 Global Enterprise Quantum Computing Revenue Market Share by Types in 2018
1.3 Global Enterprise Quantum Computing Market by Application
1.3.1 Global Enterprise Quantum Computing Market Size and Market Share Comparison by Applications (2014-2024)
1.3.3 Data Analytics
1.4 Global Enterprise Quantum Computing Market by Regions
1.4.1 Global Enterprise Quantum Computing Market Size (Million USD) Comparison by Regions (2014-2024)
1.4.1 North America (USA, Canada and Mexico) Enterprise Quantum Computing Status and Prospect (2014-2024)
1.4.2 Europe (Germany, France, UK, Russia and Italy) Enterprise Quantum Computing Status and Prospect (2014-2024)
1.4.3 Asia-Pacific (China, Japan, Korea, India and Southeast Asia) Enterprise Quantum Computing Status and Prospect (2014-2024)
1.4.4 South America (Brazil, Argentina, Colombia) Enterprise Quantum Computing Status and Prospect (2014-2024)
1.4.5 Middle East and Africa (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa) Enterprise Quantum Computing Status and Prospect (2014-2024)
1.5 Global Market Size of Enterprise Quantum Computing (2014-2024)
2 Company Profiles
2.1 QRA Corp
2.1.1 Business Overview
2.1.2 Enterprise Quantum Computing Type and Applications
126.96.36.199 Product A
188.8.131.52 Product B
2.1.3 QRA Corp Enterprise Quantum Computing Revenue, Gross Margin and Market Share (2017-2018)
2.2 Rigetti & Co, Inc.
2.2.1 Business Overview
2.2.2 Enterprise Quantum Computing Type and Applications
184.108.40.206 Product A
220.127.116.11 Product B
2.2.3 Rigetti & Co, Inc. Enterprise Quantum Computing Revenue, Gross Margin and Market Share (2017-2018)
2.3 Cambridge Quantum
2.3.1 Business Overview
2.3.2 Enterprise Quantum Computing Type and Applications
18.104.22.168 Product A
22.214.171.124 Product B
2.3.3 Cambridge Quantum Enterprise Quantum Computing Revenue, Gross Margin and Market Share (2017-2018)
2.4 Intel Corporation
2.4.1 Business Overview
2.4.2 Enterprise Quantum Computing Type and Applications
126.96.36.199 Product A
188.8.131.52 Product B
2.4.3 Intel Corporation Enterprise Quantum Computing Revenue, Gross Margin and Market Share (2017-2018)
2.5 QxBranch, Inc.
2.5.1 Business Overview
2.5.2 Enterprise Quantum Computing Type and Applications
184.108.40.206 Product A
220.127.116.11 Product B
2.5.3 QxBranch, Inc. Enterprise Quantum Computing Revenue, Gross Margin and Market Share (2017-2018)
2.6 D-Wave Systems Inc
2.6.1 Business Overview
2.6.2 Enterprise Quantum Computing Type and Applications
18.104.22.168 Product A
22.214.171.124 Product B
2.6.3 D-Wave Systems Inc Enterprise Quantum Computing Revenue, Gross Margin and Market Share (2017-2018)
2.7 Google LLC
2.7.1 Business Overview
2.7.2 Enterprise Quantum Computing Type and Applications
126.96.36.199 Product A
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Detailed Analysis and Report on Topological Quantum Computing Market By Microsoft, IBM, Google. – New Day Live
Posted: at 8:41 am
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Topological Quantum Computing Market Type Coverage:
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Market Segment by Regions, regional analysis covers
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