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Quantum computers and uncertainty

The IBM Q System One quantum computer in Yorktown Heights, New York on October 18, 2019. Quantum computers, among other things, may soon lead to a very predictable world, writes Jordan News columnist
The IBM Q System One quantum computer in Yorktown Heights, New York on October 18, 2019. Quantum computers, among other things, may soon lead to a very predictable world, writes Jordan News columnist Jawad Anani. (Photo: NYTimes)
In 1977, Nobel Peace Prize winner and economist, John Kenneth Galbraith started airing a television show titled “The Age of Uncertainty.”اضافة اعلان

The 1970s started with an oil shock that brought with it uncertainty and doubt. The Keynesian economics that were applied in the New Deal era after the great depression and in the post-World War II Marshall Plan were sure of what was needed: print money, spend big on infrastructure, and create big demand, supply will soon catch up, and the cycle would cascade into a boom.

The oil shock brought inflation that hindered job creation. So, the Phillips curve of 1957 could not produce a desired trade-off between inflation and unemployment. As a result, a new model was needed to operationalize cost-push inflation and make it effective in creating more investments, and thus more jobs.    

Uncertainty, which is generally not liked, should be credited with lots of business generation. Because speculators in financial markets are uncertain of the outcome of where the whole stock index, or even the price of one share, is going; they develop different perspectives about the future. The bears are aggressive in selling because they expect stock prices to go down. However, bullish investors buy on the assumption that prices will go up.

At the consumer level, needs determine what and how much to buy at different prices. Wholesale businesses speculate much more, and buy when they expect prices to go up in the future, and they also resort to hedging. They do the opposite if they expect prices to go down.

Without this uncertainty related to wholesale prices, commodity prices, gold prices, foreign exchange rates, oil prices, etc … many transactions would not exist, and the incentive to make fast money would fall.

All these expert houses, which live off this element of uncertainty may soon find themselves scurrying for a way to earn a living. The reason could lie in the fact that avant-garde computer technologies have finally succeeded in creating a miraculously fast and accurate machine — the quantum computer.

Computers that are programed using zeros and ones have been continuously improved to reach unprecedented speed and a mind-busting number of computations. Currently, the fastest computer in the world is the Fugaku supercomputer in Japan.

However, in December 2020, a start-up in the province of Anhui in China, declared success in creating a quantum computer that can make a computations 10 trillion times faster than the fastest existing supercomputer.

If such a computer becomes commercially available in a few years, their precision in predicting human behavior and its responses to influences would be meticulously measured, making many market uncertainties disappear. If all concerned buyers and sellers are privy to the same precise information, why would speculation exist?

We are probably living in a world that is changing much faster than we think, and that world may soon usher us into an age of boring certainty.

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