Preparing for the next revolution
Thursday, 24 October 2019
By Bernd Struben
- Would you like a pizza with your weed?
- In the mailbag…central or local control?
For most of us, three minutes ago life was much the same as it is right now. And three minutes from now life will still be very much the same.
Sure you may be three minutes further along in your workday. Which for your editor means writing the above sentences…plus a brief pause to pet my cat.
But I imagine you’ll agree three minutes is a negligible amount of time. Not enough to microwave a meat pie. Even the snooze function on your alarm clock or phone probably gives you at least an extra five minutes to sleep in.
10,000 years, on other hand, is a very different story.
It’s a safe bet that none of us were alive 10,000 years ago. Most people even struggle to name their ancestors from 200 years back.
It’s an (almost) equally safe bet that no one reading this will be alive 10,000 years from now.
Which, in a roundabout way, brings us to our point.
If you had a difficult problem that only your computer could solve, you’d be fine waiting three minutes for the answer. 10,000 years…not so fine.
This is the time saving breakthrough Google has made with its 54-qubit quantum computer processor, called Sycamore.
From The Australian:
‘[Alphabet’s Google] claims to have achieved so-called quantum supremacy, which Google defines as a programmable quantum computer performing a task that is prohibitively hard for a regular computer. The quantum processor collected one million samples of a quantum circuit in approximately 200 seconds, which would have taken a state-of-the-art super computer an estimated 10,000 years to do.’
Now IBM — one of Google’s top competitors in the quantum computing field — disagrees with the 10,000 year figure. They claim existing super computers could solve the complex equation in 2.5 days.
Maybe the real answer is right in the middle. 5,000 years…plus 1.25 days.
But even if IBM is right, 2.5 days is 216,000 seconds. Meaning Google’s quantum model is still 2,160 times faster than any classical super computer. A huge leap by any measure.
And with the world’s biggest tech giants and sovereign nations like China and the US racing to take the lead, quantum computers are going to get faster and more practical.
Trump, for example, earmarked US$1.2 billion (AU$1.75 billion) for federal quantum computing research over the next five years.
While computers that are thousands — or millions — of times faster will undoubtedly deliver new marvels to most every sector of the economy, that kind of change won’t come without disruption.
One area of particular concern is encryption technology.
Quantum computers have the potential to quickly unravel the best encrypted codes available today. And that has some pundits saying they will spell the end of cryptocurrencies.
To get a better handle on that, we turn to our own crypto guru, Sam Volkering:
‘Google’s quantum computer consisted of 56 qubits. IBM’s System One latest iteration is just 53 qubits.
‘These are the best they can do for now. In the lab they’re both getting over 70 qubits. Google’s ‘Bristlecone’ chip is getting 72 qubits to be precise. An impressive leap so far.
‘But it’s estimated that in order to crack RSA encryption protocols in the space of a few hours, quantum computers will need in excess of 4,000 qubits. And even then factoring in error correction, IBM and Google computers could take as long as the year 2041 to have a quantum computer achieve the task.
‘However, it is coming eventually. And we’d want to have things ready well before then. The good news is, that’s happening.
‘There are already a number of algorithms in the works or available now that are said to be quantum-resistant.
‘These include lamport signatures, ideal lattice cryptography, zk-SNARK cryptography, and even a migration to SHA-384 encryption.
‘In short, we don’t believe it’s going to have an impact on cryptocurrency. It’s a known risk that’s actively being worked on.
‘We’re more worried about the lax approach from the traditional financial system. The real threat is the money you think you know.
‘Maybe it’s time to ask your bank about their plans to become future “quantum-proof”.’
There you have it.
First, try to work in some time over the coming weeks to visit with your local bank branch manager. Then ask if they’re looking into lamport signatures, ideal lattice cryptography, zk-SNARK cryptography, or a migration to SHA-384 encryption to ensure your funds are safe from the coming quantum revolution. And try to keep a straight face when you do.
Second, cryptocurrencies aren’t in any immediate danger. And they’re actively working to stay one step ahead of the technological revolution.
Third, if you haven’t already gotten a hold of Sam Volkering’s crypto investing bible, Crypto Revolution, you can get your highly discounted copy here.
Inside these pages Sam gives you a step-by-step guide to understanding cryptos, as well as everything you need to potentially profit from this latest tech boom.
Now a look at the markets…
Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 45.85 points, or 0.17%.
The S&P 500 closed up 8.53 points, or 0.28%.
In Europe the Euro Stoxx 50 index closed up 2.07 points, or 0.06%. Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 gained 0.67% and Germany’s DAX closed up 43.50 points, or 0.34%.
In Asian markets Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed up 142.00 points, or 0.63%. China’s CSI 300 is down 0.15%.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 is up 26.41 points, or 0.40%.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil is US$55.73 per barrel. Brent crude is US$61.17 per barrel.
Turning to gold, the yellow metal is trading for US$1,492.73 (AU$2,179.49) per troy ounce. Silver is US$17.56 (AU$25.64) per troy ounce.
And bitcoin continues to struggle, down 6.5% since this time yesterday. One bitcoin is worth US$7,455.80.
The Aussie dollar is worth 68.49 US cents.
Would you like a pizza with your weed?
As regular readers may know, my family and I upped stakes in Melbourne back in January and moved to the Adelaide Hills.
There’s always plusses and minuses when you’re moving from the suburbs of a big city to the countryside outside a small city.
Among the plusses…far cheaper housing, zero traffic lights, and plenty of open space and quiet.
But one of the things we do miss living out in the sticks is home delivery services. The simple convenience of picking up your phone and having a driver at your door 20 minutes later with a pizza, or Chinese takeout, or what have you.
Speaking of ‘what have you’, over in the US, some states are taking home delivery to the next level.
Massachusetts recently joined California, Nevada and Oregon in allowing the home delivery of cannabis.
From The Boston Herald:
‘The Cannabis Control Commission approved regulations for marijuana home delivery and pot cafes Tuesday, with just one commissioner voting no over concerns for public safety…
‘The CCC approved final regulations for both medical and recreational use during a meeting at the State House…’
You can imagine the helpful phone clerk tallying up your cannabis order before asking, ‘Would you like a pizza with that?’
According to our friends over at the US Daily Reckoning, there’s only one listed company competing in this space, Driven Deliveries Inc [OTCMKTS:DRVD].
They deliver to your door under the brand Ganjarunner.
Back in November 2017 you could have picked up shares for one US cent each. Today DRVD trades at 86 cents. Though that’s down from a peak of US$3.45 on 1 March this year.
It doesn’t seem like there are a lot of barriers to entry here. So DRVD could have its work cut out for it defending its turf.
Meanwhile, our own pollies remain embroiled over whether the ACT has the right to decriminalise personal use of cannabis within its own borders.
Which brings us the mailbag.
(The global cannabis revolution shows no sign of slowing down. You can get the full scoop on Sam Volkering’s top two ASX listed cannabis stock plays here.)
In the mailbag…central or local control?
In Tuesday’s Port Phillip Insider I asked whether the territories and states should be allowed to determine whether the personal use of cannabis within their borders was a prosecutable offence. Or is that solely the realm of the big boys and girls in Federal Parliament?
Today, a few reader replies.
First this, from John and Veronica:
‘The tail doesn’t wag the dog.
There’s one for federal dominance over the states.
Reader Glen wrote in to point out that even Australia’s federal politicians can’t legitimately legalise cannabis use Down Under. In our globalist world, that power is reserved for the UN.
‘The International Narcotics Control Board controls legality and classification of all psychoactive and other addictive substances not produced by pharmaceutical companies.
‘It’s a class 1 or A narcotic, along with cocaine and heroin.
‘According to their classification and determination.
‘Any signatories to this organisation are obliged and forced to follow their dictates, sovereignty on the matter is forfeited under the conditions of membership which correct me if I’m incorrect is an arm of the United Nations.
‘The issue is whether nations prosecute or not.
‘U.S. has made a decision to not prosecute under Obama, some current government members wanted to end this situation and prosecute aggressively reversing Obama policy, Trump must have refused to follow these administration hardliners as he also did by finally flicking Bolton and his war policies.
‘He is a businessman not a professional politician.
‘Only the INCB can remove illegality of pot.’
The INCB was founded in 1968, right when the global war on drugs began to really take off. And become a really big business.
If we’re waiting for them to act, it could be a while.
And finally this, from Alliance Member Bruce:
‘Doctors are licensed Opioid dealers They would prefer to have you addicted to a substance such as opium in the form of a pill than to prescribe a product that is well & truly safer than the opioid that the doctors want you to take.
‘Doctors are still running into the woods when the words Medicinal Cannabis is mentioned. They hide behind the mantle of ‘not enough trials have been done’ but are happy to turn you into an opioid junky where lots of trials have proven opioids are addictive & dangerous when not administer under controlled conditions. Prescribing Medicinal Cannabis will virtually stop the doctor shopping by the junkies that the doctors created.’
Joshua Fegan, founder of medicinal ASX listed cannabis company Althea Group, would wholly agree. As he says, ‘Doctors know absolutely nothing about it – they weren’t taught marijuana in medical school.’
High time, perhaps, for some new curriculum.