Welcome to “Ask Deb from QA,” a new column from MxD.
Every week, Deb from QA — with decades of experience on the factory floor — will answer your questions to demystify and explain the digital manufacturing industry.
Please submit your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Deb: What technology—that doesn’t exist now—will dominate manufacturing in 10 years?
At the risk of dating myself, I’m going to put on my Carnac the Magnificent (aka Johnny Carson) outfit for this one: I think a decade from now, digital manufacturers will be talking a lot about quantum computing.
Let’s see, how do I explain quantum computing without having your eyes glaze over? Know that the computers of today store information in 1s and 0s, called bits. With quantum computing, you’re dealing with qubits, which using properties like superposition, entanglement and interference, process information in a much more sophisticated way than binary 1s and 0s.
Quantum computing is faster than the computing technology widely available today — I’m talking way, way, waaaay faster. Think of the fastest computer today. With quantum computing, it could be 100 million times faster. Try wrapping your brain around that!
Quantum computing can help manufacturers do their jobs in ways that are hard to even imagine today. A complicated supply chain issue that might take hours or days to resolve could be solved in a nanosecond.
In fact, even I’m having trouble imagining things that quantum computing can do to help manufacturing, because its potential is beyond the realm of what us mere mortals can conceptualize.
Imagine, if you will, describing for a pioneer settler in the 1840s how in the future, people would take photographs with their phones and upload them onto a social media platform called Instagram. You might as well have been speaking in Alien!
Likewise, quantum computing will fundamentally change the way we live and work in ways we can’t even fathom. And I think we’re going to start seeing it real soon.
The technology is currently available. It’s just not widely available, and its price is cost-prohibitive to most businesses. But as with any emerging technology, it’s only going to get more prevalent and cheaper. In 10 years’ time, it just might be as easy to use quantum computing as it is to buy an iPhone today.
Check out last week’s Ask Deb here:Why can’t I find enough N95 masks?
Deb from QA wants to hear your questions. Send ‘em to email@example.com and she’ll answer as soon she’s done with her shift.