All the United States can think and talk about these days is “The Wall.” The reality is that this unrealistic and likely-to-fail campaign promise is actually a distraction from real emergencies… and not just opioids and climate change. America needs to realize that — in terms of our economic future — there was recently a major Sputnik moment. The Chinese government has launched a “Manhattan project” to insure they are the ones who make the major breakthroughs in quantum computing and communications — by building the world’s biggest quantum computing research complex, called the National Laboratory for Quantum Information Sciences in Hefei, the capital of the eastern province of Anhui. They have committed $12 billion to win the quantum computing race.
What’s more, Baidu, Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings — the Chinese internet triumvirate known by the acronym BAT, which boasts a collective market cap of $1 trillion — are spending aggressively because they agree with the Chinese government that whoever builds a fully functioning quantum computer first will likely rule the world. Alibaba alone recently announced investing $15 billion into next-generation technology such as AI and quantum computing.
These efforts have already hit paydirt: A couple of years ago, Chinese researchers launched the world’s first quantum satellite into space from a launchpad in the Gobi Desert, to accelerate their efforts to build an unhackable quantum internet. And China was first to pack 18 qubits — the most basic units of quantum computing — into just six quantum entangled photons. That’s an unprecedented three qubits per photon, and a record for the number of qubits linked to one another via quantum entanglement. This is significant technological momentum.
America, it’s time to wake up and smell the quantum coffee!