Thursday, November 3, 2016

“Quantum State” is more likely if Modernizing Government Technology Act passes U.S. Senate

Richard Beutel is the founder and leader of Cyrrus Analytics, whose corporate mission is “driving opportunities to accelerate the government’s adoption of cloud-based technologies.”  According to the Cyrrus website, “Richard Beutel is taking a leadership role in pushing forward the Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act, working directly with Senate staffers to push forward this essential proposal to modernize IT across the federal government.”

This legislation, which is designed to upgrade woefully-inadequate legacy computing systems, passed the U.S. House of Representatives on September 22, 2016.  According to a statement provided today to Etopia News by Mr. Beutel:

“The legislation is moving through the Senate. Our hope is that Homeland Security and Government Affairs will schedule a committee markup and refer the legislation to the floor under unanimous consent. If so, there is a good chance the legislation could pass both the House and the Senate in the lame duck session of Congress.”

Previously, Etopia News asked Mr. Beutel to comment on the inclusion of advanced computing technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and quantum computing, within this proposed program to replace today’s antiquated government computer systems with newer and more-efficient ones.

Here’s what he had to say:

“While the direct application of the ITMF [IT Modernization Fund] to such emerging areas as machine learning; AI and quantum computing is not expressly called out in the MGT legislation, it does envision and expressly authorize IT modernization to address the crisis with the government’s use of antiquated and unprotectable legacy IT platforms. To the extent these emerging technologies become integral to the vision of OMB [Office of Management and Budget] and the federal agencies to achieve IT modernization, I would expect that the MGT Act and its included IT Modernization Fund would apply and be made available.”

Quantum computing, not yet realized in practice, offers a new level of computer power, fueled by such quantum mechanical principles as “superposition” and “entanglement,” which enable much faster calculations.  Google has said that quantum processors, within certain parameters, can speed up the computational process by a factor of 100 million times.

Operational quantum computers, employed by government and the private sector, could power artificial intelligence and machine learning applications at hitherto unprecedented speeds, transforming government and commercial processes by several orders of magnitude.

“Quantum state” today refers to the condition of a particular atom, and specifies the energy level of that small physical system.  Should Mr. Beutel’s suggestion that quantum computing might be included in the general IT upgrade envisioned by the Modernizing Government Technology Act eventually come to pass, then the government would be able to perform its computational functions tremendously faster, potentially revolutionizing government operations and paving the way for a “quantum state,” a political jurisdiction within which the ubiquitous use of quantum computing transforms and dominates the operation of a wide variety of governmental and commercial services and of everyday life, as well.

The extent, power, and precision of calculations based on a quantum-computing infrastructure could lead to the qualitative transformation and enhancement of such processes as book, film, and dating recommendation engines; predictive analytics; cybersecurity, including new levels of powerful encryption and methods of breaking exiting encryption systems; government and private surveillance, various forms of business optimization; autonomous vehicles and military systems; and fields not yet existing or even imagined or defined.

It couldn’t hurt to start thinking and talking about how we want to be governed and live our lives in such a “quantum state.”

For further discussion of the government’s plan to spend $3.1 billion on upgrading its IT infrastructure, look here for a blog post by the Federal Government’s Chief Information Officer Tony Scott on this subject.


No comments: