Working in tech, with a background in Physics, naturally I’m excited by the advances going on in Quantum Computing. So, with the recent launch of the Chinese Satellite, claiming to be the first to use Quantum encryption technologies, I was intrigued.
Quantum physics is the study of the weirdness underpinning reality. In short, it tells us that reality isn’t as real as we might think, and that all matter, made up of subatomic particles, isn’t real, but instead is a probability cloud of position and energy. Shrodinger’s cat is a famous thought experiment that attempts to explain how this works. The idea behind Quantum computing is that a computing process, instead of being a single entity in real space, might be countless processes acting in parallel in superposition quantum space. As such, computationally intense calculations — such as encryption or decryption could be done many orders of magnitude faster than traditional computers.
What’s all this got to do with FTL? Well…I started reading Xinhua’s release on the launch, and was amazed to find this little beauty:
“The satellite’s two year mission will be to develop “hack-proof” quantum communications allowing users to send messages securely and at speeds faster than light.”
“In practice it means that calculations can be carried out faster than light.”
Overmarketing? Or are the Chinese onto the technology for interstellar travel as a side-effect of encryption? Enquiring minds would like to know!
But seriously — I think this is probably a misunderstanding or mistranslation of the concept of Quantum Entanglement, where instant communication over any distance without a time lag is theoretically possible. And while this is technically ‘faster than light’, there’s no movement involved…