Gates thinks quantum computing in the cloud may come in a decade


Bill Gates did an Ask Me Anything on Reddit Tuesday and said that there's a chance within six to ten years that "cloud computing will offer super-computation by using quantum."

"It could help users solve some very important science problems, including materials and catalyst design," Gates wrote.

Quantum computing could help users analyze very large amounts of data quicker than they can do now with processor-based computers. While D-Wave offers quantum computing hardware, there is some debate over whether the products actually achieve quantum computing. Gates noted that Microsoft and others are working on quantum computing but steered clear of any debate about whether actual systems are on the market now.

Gates touched on a couple of other cutting-edge technology topics. He implied that there might not be much of a future for straight virtual reality. "VR is the extreme case of AR when nothing from the real world gets mixed in. It can be tricky if you are walking around that you might run into things," he wrote.

Systems that combine AR and VR seem more useful, and so the two models are unlikely to stay as separate as they are now, he said. 

Gates also said he sees why some people, like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking, think there should be regulation around artificial intelligence. While Gates hasn't seen any specific proposals for how the government might regulate AI, he said that "when a few people control a platform with extreme intelligence it creates dangers in terms of power and eventually control."

It's not quite artificial intelligence, but Gates sees software doing more for users. Currently people have to deal with a lot of complexity since they use so many tools, like email and texting, he wrote. "Eventually the software will understand what you should pay attention to by knowing the context and learning about your preferences," he said.

Even Gates doesn't have that kind of intelligent software at his fingertips, although he recently switched to the Surface Book. "I only detach the screen a few times a week and I like the keyboard better than my previous Surface," he wrote. 

For more:
-- read the AMA with Gates

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