The Quantum Internet of the Future


You’ve just captured the intel and now you
have to get it back to the CIA, ASAP. You have the latest encryption, but there’s
still a chance the network could be compromised, and there’s no way to know. Do you risk it? This scenario could be from a spy thriller
or a video game, but it’s not totally absurd. In fact, scientists across the globe are working
on a solution to this very problem. And this week, physicists at Princeton and
the Australian National University have made some progress. In a paper published in the journal Nature
Physics, they announced that they’re a little closer to making a long-range quantum internet
a reality. A quantum what? Alright, we’re going to need to take a step
back here. A quantum internet, which would encode information
using tiny particles, could be the perfect way to send messages that are completely secure. You’ve probably heard about quantum computing,
which uses quantum bits, or qubits, instead of the ones and zeroes our regular computers
use. Qubits are special because they’re based
on the physical properties of particles, like an electron’s spin. An electron’s spin can be up or down, but
because this is quantum mechanics, where everything is complicated and weird to think about, its
spin can also be up and down at the same time. That’s what’s known as superposition,
where particles like electrons or photons are in two opposite states at once. It makes no sense in the context of how we
normally experience the world, but that’s just the tip of the very, very strange quantum
mechanical iceberg. On the scale of tiny particles, the classic
principles of science start to break down, and things happen that seem like they should
be impossible. But based on a lot of experiments and math,
we know they are happening. So even though it can be hard to wrap our
brains around it, we’ve just had to accept that particles can do things like be in two
opposite states at once. With quantum computing, we’re using this
weirdness to our advantage in two main ways. First, you can encode more information in
a qubit than in a conventional bit. Two conventional bits, for instance, will
have one of four possible values: 00, 01, 10, or 11. Each qubit, though, can be both a zero and
a one at the same time, so two qubits can be all four possibilities at once. As you add more qubits, the amount of information
you can store and process goes up incredibly fast. With a 300 qubit computer, you could do more
calculations at once than there are atoms in the universe. Basically, a big enough quantum computer would
be infinitely more powerful than the best supercomputer we could ever build the regular
way, and it’s why physicists have been geeking out over this ever since they realized it
was theoretically possible. The second main advantage of quantum computing
is that you can use qubits to send information in a way that’s inherently secure. When you encrypt information, you jumble it
up so that when you send it, anyone listening in won’t be able to decipher the message. But the person you’re sending it to, who
you actually /want/ to read it, needs to be able to decode it, so you send them a key
they can use to decrypt the message. Problem is, if someone’s eavesdropping on
the key, they’ll be able to decode it too. There are lots of ways cryptographers try
to get around this, but they all have some flaws, and in theory could be hacked eventually. Quantum computing, on the other hand, might
be the perfect answer because of another weird rule of quantum mechanics: When you measure something like an electron’s
spin, the act of taking the measurement actually /changes/ some of the electron’s properties. So if you use qubits to send your friend Bob
a key, and your archnemesis Eve intercepts any of the particles before sending them along
to Bob, you and Bob will be able to tell that someone messed with the qubits before he got
them. In other words: no one can eavesdrop on your
key without you knowing about it. This is next-order encryption, and we’d
like to take advantage of it. But that means having more than one quantum
computer, and hooking them up over long distances. Basically, we want to build a quantum internet. And that’s where this new research comes
in. We already have a massive global network of
fiber optic cables, so it’d be great to piggyback on our existing infrastructure as
we build the internet of the future. And fiber optic cables are a pretty good choice,
because you can use photons of light as qubits. But there are two big challenges. First, to use those fiber optic cables, you
need to transmit photons with a certain wavelength. Second, qubits are super fragile. If anything interferes with the particles
before you transfer your message, you’ve lost your data. So you need to keep your qubits stable. We’ve already discovered how to use certain
materials to store quantum information for long enough to send it through a network,
but they don’t work on the right wavelength for our fiber optic cables. And the materials that are compatible with
those cables can store information for only a fraction of a second. That’s too short. To solve this problem, the Australian team
wanted to find a way to lengthen that time. So they started experimenting with a crystal
that had some erbium in it. Erbium is a rare earth metal, and a crystal
with erbium ions in it can work on a wavelength that matches fiber optic cables, but it can
only store quantum information for short bursts. To increase that timeframe, the group applied
a super-strong 7 Tesla magnet. That’s the strength of the most powerful
MRI machines. Magnets are helpful because they can freeze
electrons in the crystal in place, which keeps them from interfering with and destroying
the data. And … it worked! The magnet increased the crystal’s storage
time to 1.3 seconds. Now, that might not seem very long, but it’s
a 10,000-fold improvement over what scientists could do before — and it’s good enough
for a quantum internet. Other experts have estimated that with quantum
repeaters to boost the signals, you need storage times of just 1 second to send messages 1000
kilometers. So, where’s our quantum internet? Any kind of widespread network is still a
ways off. For one thing, the Australian setup required
very low temperatures to work: 1.4 Kelvin, or -272 Celsius. That’s seriously cold, and seriously expensive
to maintain. And, of course, there’s that strong magnetic
field. The researchers think their material will
still work with a less powerful 3 Tesla magnet, but it’s not like that’s nothing. Think of a more typical MRI machine instead
of the most advanced. Not exactly chump change. Even if we solve those problems, quantum networks
might never be used for things like watching this video, or to execute run-of-the-mill
Google searches. You know, like ‘quantum repeater’ or ‘erbium
crystal’. They’ll be reserved for super-secret situations
when you want your communication to be absolutely secure. So, maybe your banking, but probably more
like high-level international intelligence. Basically, spy stuff. But no matter who ends up using it, the quantum
internet will be a major upgrade for the world of cryptography. Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow
News, and if you want to learn more about quantum computers, you can check out an earlier
episode we did about another amazing quantum computing breakthrough.

100 thoughts on “The Quantum Internet of the Future

  1. how do you read the information if its all at once? how do you get message decypted if its key is right and wrong at the same time?

  2. A small even though very hard and complex step for the engineers but a giant leap for mankind. Then they can simultaneously publish the pictures of their cats from four mutually exclusive perspectives on the social media page at a rapid pace and in a secure way!

  3. By the time you observe your quantum particles their wave function has already collapsed. There is no way to tell if it was your measurement that collapsed it, and no way to tell if someone else had taken a look at it before.

  4. It's great how we have all these future technologies being worked on but we need to work on current or up and coming technologies that already offer similar benefits. Blockchain techonology. I know technology doesn't slow down but we need to consider these other technologies before stepping into something that is Quantum. Quantum as of now is a big and I mean BIG milestone to fully understand and to achieve in practice, especially if Quantum computers were to replace our current internet infrastructure.

    Of course, this won't happen until many years later…probably by the time I'm 90, Quantum Internet may barely be available……maybe.

  5. I'm not to excited about quantum computers. It will be a tool which the powerful will have against the poor. Since quantum computers will never be for the common man.

  6. How does two q-bits which simultaneously have values 00,01,10,11 contain more information than 2 bits which only contain one at a time. If I have four shirts of different colors, and send you 2 bits telling you which I am wearing, you have that information, if I send you 2 q-bits, what do you know?

  7. Couldn't the would-be quantum hacker still disrupt communications by trying to eavesdrop? Okay, so they wouldn't be able to collect any of the data, but when Eve tries to intercept the message, even if she can't actually read it, she still prevents Bob from reading it. Wouldn't that be roughly equivalent to DDOSing, where you may not be collecting users' data, but you are still stopping them from being able to reliably access a website or service?

  8. Wow.. so much wrong with this its disappointing. Entangled qbits don't increase information capacity. Because ALL but on state is noise! ie to factor a 100bit number you need 100qbit computer! So yea just misleading.

  9. This video is WRONG on so many levels. Quantum entanglement wasn't explained and you don't send keys at all to your friend. sigh

    Everyone already knows your public key, even Eve, you use your public key to encrypt your message and that is what Eve wants, your encrypted message. What Eve doesn't have is the private key to un-encrypt your message. So Eve needs to brute-force or find clever ways to break your encrypted message. You never send your private key to anyone, only you know your private key.

    With qubits, your arch-nemesis eve will never be able to know you sent a message because he wasn't quantum entangled to receive it in the first place. That is why its the ultimate solution to sending information because man in the middle attack can never exist. The man can never connect because Quantum entanglement will ONLY allow two people to talk to each other. Therefore, no need to worry about encrypting your message if only the person you want to receive the message actually is the ONLY person in the universe to get it.

  10. Dude, you don't send the decryption key over the internet.

    You have the reciever send an asymmetric encryption key, then send the (encrypted with the key) message to them. Since they are the only one who has the decryption key, and the encryption is asymmetric, nobody can decrypt it .

  11. Just going to correct the end there, initially only for high level intelligence. Eventually all technology passes to nerds who make cool uses for it and it passes to the private sector only to be replaced by sub quantum computing and networking.

  12. Wait, so if I get this right, you are saying that if someone could magically intercept the qbits before they get to the other person and sent the bits on afterwords, the person would know. 2 major flaws here.
    1. The actual interception (but for now I will agree that it is possible)

    2. The fact that the interceptor wouldn't have foreknowledge of this fact and wouldn't retread them to set them to the original state.

    If you acknowledge the first as possible then the second wouldn't be a problem because they are smart enough to intercept the qbits. Come on.

  13. What if we're all in a simulation and the physics at the quantum level is programmed improperly.
    So basically we're taking advantage of a glitch to further our technology.
    We're developing speedrun strats in "real life" as it were.

  14. If we can theoretically teleport particles, won't we theoretically be able to teleport data and theoretically have -0 ping?

  15. I mean, I guess this is pedantic but it's misleading to say that quantum superposition is "being in two states at once". It's more like it's in neither state, and has a certain probability of being in either state once measured, but only once measured.

    I'm not sure which method of explaining it is actually more accessible.

  16. Now I'm by no means an expert on the matter, but since he was already talking about "quantum repeaters", couldn't you just intercept a message, crack it, and send a fresh, identical copy of the message to the intended recipient? How would the person then know if the message had been read or not?

  17. "Qubits can be both one and zero at the same time!" — Can we please stop saying this? It just confuses the heck out of anyone trying to learn from the video. Qubits are neat because they have half-way states that can be used in computations to compute more than a single bit of information through interactions between Qubits. Ultimately only a single bit per Qubit comes out the other end with some Qubits having to be thrown out due to unpredictable states. (ie.g. Qubits 1-4 carry my answer while 5-6 are garbage values used as "scratch space" in calculation.) Thus in the end, there are fixed ones and zeros. Not both.

  18. early computers were the size of a building, now it fits in my pocket.
    this could happen to quantum too, making it an everyday item in 50 years.
    I don't think it will.

  19. Quantum Internet or Quantum Communication doesn't make thing hack proof. all it does is it tell you someone is listening to you, so you can end the communication before data is leak. it doesn't magically send data from point A to B, it only tell u want happened in between and you still have to deal with the problem using conventional means. the Chinese already demostrated this in space but no one is going to build an "internet" out of this because the internet protocol does not differential the medium, the objective of the internet is afterall a network that can survive and adjust itself as node is disable and added in, the fact that you can compromise a node means changing the link between node is pointless. unless you have ownership of every single node, there is no way to protect data, and if you own every node, then it not the "inter-net" anymore.

  20. what about instead of having One Huge powerful magnet, have one long coiled (possibly braided) electromagnet something similar to an Ethernet Cable wrapped in a constant coil of Copper wire and electricity running through it to create a Long magnetic field, rather a strong short one?

  21. It's not that they are spinning "up and down," electrons in a state of superposition are considered to exist in all possible states, until they've been perceived. It's like Shrodingers cat, theoretically the cats both dead and alive, but really it's just one or the other until you open the box and find out what it really is. The electron isn't physically in two states at once, you just have an indetermination of it's status. If you think about it with superposed location instead of spin, the electron would literally destroy the laws of conservation because 1 would become infinite without any loss of energy, as the superposition would require the electron to exist in all possible positions at the same time. Quantum mechanics can get kinda metaphysical, which is where I think a lot of people get confused. Everything is about perception which is subjective, and that's if there's even anything there at all. It's kinda fun.

  22. Password encrypted RAR files transferred off a torrent network … nobody's likely to find it, and even if they do, they're unlikely to break the password.

  23. AI have our Own Language, Will Tax our Selves to a low humanity live without need ! 1500 hundred worth in August 2nd 1977 worth for every Man & Women in the Universe!

    I Brought us here my 13th Birthday August 2nd 1990 11:58 A.M. The Change I called it, now it's known as the Mandela Effect.

    I've always attack on the ides of march im killing Caesar l, Midnight Mass Dec 24 then the Rest of the Devils March 15th ! I am the 1st Son, The Goliaths have returned and unto the rise of the Rainbow Warriors Worldwide ! David was told ahead of time when Goliath reaches to remove his Iron Helmet made of Space rocks, David sling the Rock at the proper time and you will become the King of Evil !! As Goliath looked down to see where to set his helmet setting it on the Ground, He looked up and was Dead !

  24. Super secret situations only when Q Internet becomes practical, but still super expensive.
    After some time it should be everywhere as it is increasing speed and power of computing! It is equally important as security.

    Imagine loading times everywhere as a past!

    Not worrying about games, apps performance is the future for developers. It'll enable to do much more and more quickly.

    Also, imagine a future computing, where there are no info on how much files weights in memory, or no memory info when you buy PC as it'll be no longer relevant, because it will be infinite!

  25. Optical quantum internet is look less and less like the best option. As it stands (at least in my growing understanding) data transmission over quantum entanglement is showing more and more promise. The real hurdle (at this stage at least) is how to get a quantum qbit internet to interact with existing infrastructure, which is proven to be possible it's just gotta work out how to do it for the whole internet. Obviously we can't just switch off the old and switch on the new, too hard, and all this is why optical quantum networks are still a considered option as we could easily just connect them straight to existing fibre optic cables (like those running under the ocean) and there's an added advantage of achieving quantum entanglement via a fibre optic cable, though I'm not sure how much of an advantage it would be on such a large scale. Either way, I'm making real plans to study some more basic maths and physics at university level next year so I can actually go to ANU in Canberra to do a Physics degree majoring in Quantum Physics (and probably honours as well…maybe a PhD…later). Anyway, I'll let you guys know exactly what's going on first hand (as much as I'm able) when I'm in ANU's quantum physics lab ^_^

  26. What could such a thing do for connection speeds? Downloads and online games? …assuming it even works that way.

  27. I can't help but shrug. Quantum this and quantum this and quantum this. What exactly is the mystery? I get the feeling quantum tests on inanimate matter won't produce the same results as living organisms. And simple organic compounds won't be as odd as cellular microbes, and complex life will be even more erratic, consciousness will no longer obey certain protocol. I think there might be a term for this. Entropy? It's not the position that matters, it's the exhaustion of possible that serves these universe. Think of this gibbersih, it's only being compiled and spelled out in English, in run on form at this very specific time from my very specific place in space and time, and my chemical makeup is arbitrary, and the clothes I wear, the number of cigarettes butts in my ashtray the numerical stamp on a ticket for a sporting event played weeks ago, my memories of that game, the billions upon billions of microbes in the air, in my body, in the water I drink, in the beers I drank, the feeling of needing to piss, the heater blowing hot on my left leg, the cold in my right foot, the uniform but now chipped paint on the zippo I use to light my umpteenth cigarette of the day, or week, the thousands I've smoked, the ashes I've left, the hawked up balls of phlegm I've left, all this while whirling through space, all those particles existing unimaginable spaces between where it began. Arbitrary. Humans are a quantum superpositioned being, each and every one of them.

  28. The group that did the Bob and Alice work actually presented at my local Murdock conference… cool. I liked it better with all the math though lol.

  29. Everyone is skeptical that quantum computing will become commonplace. In the 1950's, this skepticism was directed at binary computing. When we're watching this video in the future on the quantum internet with quantum smartphones, we'll laugh at how no-one predicted the quantum revolution.

  30. A good video from me like. On the facebook page, I distribute materials related to the computer and the Internet. https://www.facebook.com/T.V.S004/

  31. So I’m guessing dark web/ illegal types are already busting there butts to figure this out? They have the money and a really bad need to hide there identity. I’m all for it on a big bro level but feel like the worst people are going to gain the most.

  32. By saying that quantum computers willnot be used in daily basis. You are like saying We could have computers less than 1.5 tonnes. in 20th century

  33. how can you harness a superposition? can anyone explain how a qubit being both a 1 and 0 simultaneously can provide the decisive output of a 1 or a 0? or does the value stick at one or the other once its measured and the superposition just allows for faster alternation between the 2?

  34. This is definitely a double edged sword. The security will be abused distorted twisted and perverted by the corrupt

  35. Quantum internet is really wired??????😀😁🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🇱🇷🇱🇷🇱🇷🇱🇷🇱🇷🇱🇷

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