What if I told you there was a way for you to know what lies ahead for you? Well, science could just have a way to predict your future. And it might become a reality sooner than you expect.
What technology would you need to make this happen? Would you be able to change your future? Or would you be trapped in a scenario written for you by somebody else?
So, how would you go about predicting the future? In a word? Data. Or by analyzing data, if you prefer to be more precise.
And all you’d need would be a quantum computer and some knowledge of how it works. I know, that’s easy enough, right?
Quantum computers are different from the computers you’re familiar with. Classical computers store information as binary bits using the states of 1 or 0. But quantum computers code information into quantum bits, or qubits.
Imagine asking both types of computers to ready a book with 1 billion pages. A classical computer would read the book one page at a time while a quantum computer would read the 1 billion pages all at once. That’s how much faster quantum computing is. So, how would understanding how quantum computers work help you become a new generation of fortune tellers?
Let me tell you about a super exciting new technology. MAAI, or multi-agent artificial intelligence. The best way to describe it is to think about an advanced version of the game The Sims. We are talking about life simulations.
MAAI will try out various scenarios in simulations. And can be used to predict how whole societies will react to a particular event. It has already been proven beneficial.
In 2014, for example, an Ebola epidemic broke out in West Africa. To avoid a global pandemic, the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency used MAAI to predict how the epidemic would progress. And the infections were restricted to 28,000 people instead of spreading further.
MMAI is also successful at predicting human behavior. Scientists have made these agents very similar to humans. They can have different genders, ages, and personalities, get married, have children, and get divorced. They can even die.
As they interact with each other in social networks, they will change their behavior just like real humans do. And we can use their behaviours to predict how real humans would behave. Did I blow your mind yet?
Now, imagine you got your hands on this awesome piece of future tech. Then you would never fail at gift-giving again. Well, that sounds useful. OK. But to do all of this, you would need data, and a lot of it. Time to open up a course on data mining.
Data mining collects, stores, and analyzes massive amounts of information. It’s the process of finding patterns, correlations, and anomalies within large data sets that we can use to predict outcomes. Great. But, where could you find the data?
How about everywhere? Facebook posts, tweets, YouTube videos, street camera videos, and even restaurant reservations on OpenTable. You could predict when your mom would prepare your favorite food and be sure to be there for dinner. Or, you could place bets on sports and make a lot of money.
But in all seriousness, would this future prediction mean that your life would become scripted? That you would never have a choice to decide anything on your own?
Luckily, that wouldn’t be the case. It’s a prediction based on your typical behavior, but it doesn’t mean you can’t make choices of your own. But you should wonder if using the data this way would be ethical. Could it become a violation of privacy?
This technology is supposed to improve our lifestyle and avoid social and economic instability. But it’s already being used for less honorable reasons, like increasing sales for businesses. And I don’t think anyone could guarantee who will handle our data in the future and how.
Giving our information away can make us vulnerable. Hackers can steal our identities. Governments could exploit our data in many ways.
If someone gets their hands on information about your habits, they could easily predict your future movements, putting you in a dangerous situation. Maybe this is the price we need to pay to avoid geopolitical unrest and live in peaceful societies.
With global warming, predicting the future will become increasingly important. We are bound to see climate refugees and increased fighting over resources.
- “What Is Quantum Mechanics? Quantum Physics Defined, Explained | Live Science”. Robert Coolman. 2021. livescience.com.
- “ARCHIVED: What are bits, bytes, and other units of measure for digital information?”. kb.iu.edu.
- “AI can predict your future behaviour with powerful new simulations”. Lawton, Graham. 2021. New Scientist.
- “Scientists Create Quantum Device That Can Predict Different Futures”. 2019. The Independent.
- “What is a qubit?”. Voorhoede, De. 2021. Quantum Inspire.
- “Government Aims To Build A ‘Data Eye In The Sky’ (Published 2011)”. 2011. nytimes.com.