(Observer) The 2020s appear to be the decade when quantum computers begin to contribute to your life, by both making slight improvements to your map app, and powering artificial intelligence robust and savvy enough to be a real-life Skynet.
Everybody is trying to bring quantum computing useful computational performance—including the U.S. government. Commercial spending on quantum computing research is estimated to reach hundreds of millions of dollars sometime in the next decade. A year ago, spooked and shamed by what appeared to be an unanswered flurry of quantum progress in China, Congress dedicated $1.2 billion to the “National Quantum Initiative Act,” money specifically intended to boost American-based quantum computing projects. According to Bloomberg, China may have already spent 10 times that.
An arcane field still existing mostly in the theoretical, quantum computers have done enough recently and are commanding enough very real public and private resources to be deserving of your attention—not the least of which is because if and when the Chinese government becomes master of all your personal data, sometime in the next decade, it will be because a quantum computer cracked the encryption.