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  • Writer's pictureDavid de Souza

How to Think Like a Quantum Computer

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

The secret behind a quantum computer's ability to crack codes and break the internet is its ability to embrace uncertainty.

If we use the same principle with our own thinking, it can help us to see the world in a non-binary way, to make better decisions, and to join the top 1% of thinkers.

Computers work by using billions of tiny switches that are either on or off, a 1 or 0. Every website, photo, or app is simply a different combination of 1s or 0s, just as every book is a combination of the 26 letters of the alphabet.

The switches in quantum computing are different, they can be both on and off at the same time. It’s like flipping a coin, when it lands it will be either heads or tails, but while in the air the coin is both heads and tails.

As Amit Katwala says in this article: “If you ask a normal computer to figure its way out of a maze, it will try every single branch in turn, ruling them all out individually until it finds the right one. A quantum computer can go down every path of the maze at once. It can hold uncertainty in its head.”

We have been taught to think like a traditional computer, to not judge books by their covers, to avoid stereotypes, and treat each person individually, dismissing them independently (not as a group) just like a traditional computer trying to calculate the best route of a maze.

There is a paradox in being human, we are all similar yet we are all different. In previous generations when we lived in smaller communities, we knew each member of the tribe individually, but in our modern, interconnected world, we don’t have enough time and resources to know every single person or situation.

A binary thinker believes that stereotypes are wrong (or right!), a quantum thinker believes in the value of stereotypes without using them as a crude tool.

The map is not the territory but that does not mean we should throw away the map.

For example, you can hold the idea in your mind that men and more dangerous than women but also believe that you don’t need to be wary of all men….. maybe just a group of drunk men, late on a Saturday night!

If we can avoid binary thinking as F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said: “hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”, we start to think more like a quantum computer.

When you think like a quantum computer you realize that more than one thing can be true, you become detached from an outcome and you can be comfortable with paradoxes and detachment.

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