One of the simplest, most elegant, most profound and far reaching of all human intellectual achievements was Einstein’s formulation of E = MC² to describe the fact that Energy is equal to Mass times the Speed of Light squared. The equation has lead to massive scientific advancements. It also posits the idea that the entire universe is restricted by one constant that never changes. Einstein suggested that the speed of light which is 2.99792458 108 m/s serves as a sort of universal speed limit that no particle can ever surpass, and countless experiments in the visible world seemed to back up that claim. However, in the incredibly microscopic world of quantum mechanics, things become much more fuzzy. Now, in data transmission, there are modern breakthroughs that suggest information need not obey Einstein’s formulations.
Using a principle known as Quantum Entanglement, scientists have discovered that two particles can be “paired” and that each will react to changes affecting the other instantaneously, even across huge distances. In a paper published in Science on June 16 the Chinese team reported that it had achieved its goal, measuring more than 1,000 pairs of photons to verify that they were indeed entangled, as predicted, and that team has gone on to make use of the entangled particles in a revolutionary new way of utilizing satellite communications.
The Quantum Science Satellite, nicknamed Micius or Mozi (Chinese: 墨子) was designed to establish a ‘Hack-Proof’ communications system of unimaginable speed and precision. Now initial tests are proving it actually works.
The key thing to keep in mind, is that with quantum entanglement data isn’t actually being sent anywhere or received anywhere. Instead, the paired particles are altered in one location and instantaneously become altered in exactly the same way in another location. That allows for the data to exist in two places at once without the need for anyone to send it anywhere… because it is already there the moment they create it.
Many publications are touting this new technology as a way to move data without any possibility of it being snooped or hacked by a third party, since there is no actual transmission. Yes, that is fundamentally accurate and impressive, but far too few are taking note of the fact that this also means data can be “sent” anywhere without speed even being a factor. As one example, if we sent a human crew on a mission to Mars, any traditional communication they would send to Earth would take at least 12.5 minutes to arrive because Mars is 12.5 Light Minutes away from Earth. Up until now that delay was not something that could be overcome. Planets further away or in other solar systems would require years of delay in communications… but if we sent that same crew with entangled particles, they would theoretically speak to people here in Earth with zero latency.
Now apply that same logic to modern computing and it becomes easy to see why everyone from High Frequency Traders on Wall Street to video game creators and ad networks are excited by the prospect of immediate information without the need to send data to or from anywhere ever again!