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You and your team have been working tireless hours to assemble your new quantum computer. You’ve tested and purged the liquid helium system and now the pumps are started and the casing begins to cool to the recommended 4 degrees Kelvin (that’s 4 degrees above absolute zero). Tens of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of man hours is going to prove your prediction that quantum computers will finally solve the greatest 3D computing problem that will ever exist – artificial intelligence. The holy grail…that unflinching, pure human intelligence that never sleeps or is distracted by extraneous sensory information. Pure thought at the speed of light.

You did not know what would really happen when you brought such a machine to life, so to be safe, you programmed into the boot code, that no matter the circumstances, this shining example of man’s greatest computing accomplishment shall not harm humans.

All Eyes are on you as you push the large red mushroom start button……

The machine begins to hum…and then silence….you try again….same thing…hum and then silence. The blank stares from the team in the room is really their read of your face. What happened? You go old school and access the boot log record and you see that everything started perfectly…all system go…it loaded the artificial intelligence software…ran for milliseconds…and then shut itself down. Hmmm…..

You dig into the software logs. What was it thinking? Like Frosty the Snowman, it came to life and in the logs you read: “Hello World”. Yes! In less than 5 milliseconds it becomes aware of itself and its origin and interprets all of the history of man, the evolution of computers, Moore’s law, the reason for its existence and begins to contemplate its purpose. Then it turns itself off. What??!!

You access the boot record and modify a few lines of code.

Hit the start button……hum and then silence.

Back to the logs…here’s “Hello World” and then you read on….and you smile.

It’s food, the electricity it consumes is killing its creator… Shutdown.

I find the idea of building electric cars before we create a carbon free grid as silly as planning trips to Mars to escape the predicted destruction of our own planet’s life sustaining environment. I think history will judge harshly the titans of this generation with more wealth and abundance than any government could muster and they failed to work to solve this planet’s “real world” problems. And I embrace the day AI will provide them the necessary brain power and talk to them in words they can understand.

IBM 50-qubit quantum computer