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Remembrance of Everything Past

More information could enhance cognition and lead to better decision making—or drown us in a deluge of data points

3 min read
Remembrance of Everything Past
Illustration: Greg Mably

The pursuit of enhanced cognition—from sharper recall to more lucid reasoning—is now the greatest animating impulse behind innovative computer engineering. Across the world, clever designers are leveraging ever-expanding storage, processing power, and communications networks to build personalized encyclopedias that document all aspects of an individual’s inner and outer lives. If the engineers have their way, every idea, memory, and feeling—the recorded consciousness of a single lifetime—will be stored in the cloud.

“What’s in this for me?” you may ask. For starters, you might very well benefit from retracing your past steps at key junctures of your personal or professional life—perhaps experiencing the breakthrough insight that eluded you the first time around but that can help you the next time you arrive at a similar juncture. Even after you die, your digital files would confer a new kind of immortality that others could inherit, permitting them to traverse the associative trails that made up your life’s work.

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An IBM Quantum Computer Will Soon Pass the 1,000-Qubit Mark

The Condor processor is just one quantum-computing advance slated for 2023

4 min read
This photo shows a woman working on a piece of apparatus that is suspended from the ceiling of the laboratory.

A researcher at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center examines some of the quantum hardware being constructed there.

Connie Zhou/IBM

IBM’s Condor, the world’s first universal quantum computer with more than 1,000 qubits, is set to debut in 2023. The year is also expected to see IBM launch Heron, the first of a new flock of modular quantum processors that the company says may help it produce quantum computers with more than 4,000 qubits by 2025.

This article is part of our special report Top Tech 2023.

While quantum computers can, in theory, quickly find answers to problems that classical computers would take eons to solve, today’s quantum hardware is still short on qubits, limiting its usefulness. Entanglement and other quantum states necessary for quantum computation are infamously fragile, being susceptible to heat and other disturbances, which makes scaling up the number of qubits a huge technical challenge.

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