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WWIV

A LITTLE BIT OF THINKING

WWIII was never about east against west or communism versus capitalism. Even during the worst days of the cold war, WWIII was about information. Information was the most important weapon that all superpowers used. Information and dis-information. But for dis-information to work, secrets had to be kept at all costs. And this meant encryption. But this encryption was not used primarily to guard military secrets but to guard political ones. Encryption was and it is used to brainwash people, all of us, against the reality of the systems we live under. Don't believe us? Military encryption guards information only valuable to about 1% of the entire population (i.e. all military personnel). Political encryption guards information against the "other" 99% of the population (that would be you and us). Hummm… 1% versus 99% percent. One has to wonder why? What is that governments and politicians don't want us to know that is not, repeat not, of military value? Quite a lot actually. The most damming information is that governments are a total and utter failure. They don't want us to see what is really going on; how fallible, egotistical and clueless they actually are. Not only they don't want us to see that they don't have a plan, but they don't want us to see that they are OK with it. Or worse. That their plan is complete, total and utter garbage and it offers no solutions but a large (oversized) dose of rhetoric, PR and spin.

A LITTLE BIT OF TECH

The D-Wave Systems Two (or second model) is still a gigantic mammoth that consumes 15.5 Kw of electricity, it operates at 0.02 degrees Celsius above absolute zero (or -273.15 degrees C), at one - then billionth of atmospheric pressure and costs about 10 million USD each. All for the dubious privilege of having a computer with a processing power roughly equivalent to an obsolete laptop. This is the D-Wave Two:

D-Wave Two

Now compare that picture with the picture of the ENIAC which was the first general-purpose electronic computer designed in 1946. See the similarities in size?

ENIAC

At the time ENIAC was nothing short of revolutionary. Nowadays we don't have anything computerized anywhere in the world that has as little processing power as the ENIAC had. It's cost was about 6 million USD, sounds familiar?

The D-Wave quantum computer is at the stage where ENIAC was about 70 years ago…with one critical difference. It is very likely that this quantum computer won't obey Moore's law (which indicates that CPU power doubles roughly every two years) because chip-manufacturing methodologies are well known. In order to scale-up this quantum computer, their developers will simply use existing lithographic technology. What this means is that we (or more precisely the government) won't have to wait 70 years to crack our communications, they will be able to do it far sooner.

POST-QUANTUM CRYPTOGRAPHY

Luckily enough (for us) there are people already studying how (and even if) cryptographic algorithms and methods can be designed that are quantum-computer resistant in practice. So far the answer is a definitive maybe. The bad news, however, is that it will take time to do so and governments will get there far faster that we will. For a number of years (decade perhaps?) we will be, again, naked in the all-seeing eyes of governments. Eventually, as the natural forces of market participants take over, quantum computers will be available to everyone at the same price as today's computers. At that point we will, again, win WWIV.

THE NON SOLUTION

Some naïve people will come with the idea of "prohibiting" the technology of quantum computing. Yes, there is always somebody out there with crazy ideas. First at all, if quantum computing becomes "verboten tek", then only governments will have it! When was the last time that you saw something "forbidden" that governments did not have? This will leave us, plain people completely at their mercy. Bad idea indeed!

Secondly, we need quantum computing to solve pressing human problems. Anything from genetics to the environment requires massive computer power that only quantum computing can provide.

Thirdly, there is such a thing as a discovery chain. Discovery A leads to B which leads to C. The problem is that knowing A we have no way of forecasting what C is going to look like. Maybe by forbidding quantum computing today we deny ourselves immortality tomorrow! Bad idea.

No. The only solution is to let people use as much quantum computer as they want. Make the technology available to everyone. Let the people, you and us decide for ourselves what it is that we want for ourselves.

WWIV AGAIN

In the same manner as WWIII was about information, WWIV is going to be about control through information. Information will simply became the raw material that super-fast analytical super-quantum-computers will use to study us and predict what will we do or not do and how to make us do it. This next world war is going to be about freedom management or more precisely, about the management of freedom perception. We are no longer free, this much we know. The challenge for politicians is how to maintain their iron grip on all of us without provoking an uprising. This would require accurate behavioural patterns the like of which we have never seen before. If behavioural economics is a step forward, mass behavioural management is a leap into the moon. Without super-quantum-computers this cannot be achieved and as such governments will use as much as this new resource as they possibly can. We seemed to be doomed, alas, we are not. Even this new twist of events has the same old Achilles heel: information. Cloak information in an unbreakable layer of cryptography and even the fastest and most sophisticated quantum computer is no better than an oversized paper weight. And so again, the decision is in our hands. We either encrypt or we will continue to live as slaves.

CONCLUSION

We, the people, are in the process of winning WWIII alas WWIV has already started. The most likely scenario is that we will win WWIV too, although it is not entirely certain. What is completely uncertain is what comes after WWIV since at that point in time it is extremely likely that we will be dealing with sentient computers. They may be artificial life forms, but they will be alive nevertheless. In Kurzweil's terms, the singularity has arrived. Passing that point in time it is anybody's guess what will those computers do with the human race. In the best of the Libertarian thinking, we want to believe that we will be able to strike a deal, or even a partnership.

If this seems like scifi to you, we strongly recommend that you wake up. It is not. We are out of time. Today. This is as real as it gets. Twenty or so years into the future this will happen, it is only a matter of where will it happen first.

But then again, knowing governments and politicians as we know them, they will attempt to use these computers to further their power. Will they turn these new life forms into our foes? Likely. And if this happens, what are our chances? Zero. Our brain capacity evolves in terms of hundreds of thousands of years. Their's in terms of months (or days even). There is no possible contest. This is the future that awaits us unless we get rid of governments first. No rush. No pressure. Don't you worry because "the government is here to help you".

Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.

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