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The impossible is only impossible for those who believe so

A little over a decade ago, in the context of a philosophy class focused on technological change, I indicated to my students that quantum computing would arrive in a short time and, with its arrival, would cause a revolution in our lives. I remember the incident from the reaction of the students: they began to laugh without being able to contain themselves.

When she finally got control of herself, one of the students said something to the effect of “That's never going to happen” and, if I remember correctly, even suggested that I should stop reading or watching so much science fiction. (The source for my class was research published at the time by Washington State University experts, not a science fiction story.)

Beyond the incredulity of those students about the development of quantum computing, the truth is that not only has that future already arrived, but also that we have already overcome it or are about to do so.

A recent report led by Dr. Winfried Hensinger, a professor at the University of Sussex, in the United Kingdom, indicates that his research has allowed progress in the creation of multi-task quantum computers. Those computers are just as advanced over today's quantum computers as the quantum computers we use are.

In fact, Hensinger said, the new era of "quantum super computers" means having computers so "extremely powerful" that, according to this expert, "they would be able to solve the most important problems" of our society.

I am sure that if my students from a decade ago heard me say that in the near future supercomputers will solve our main problems, they would laugh again and affirm that this would not happen. But refusing to see the future does not stop the future. The future arrives whether we are ready or not.

At one time it was said that a boat trip around the world was impossible. It was said that it was impossible for the earth to move. It was said that nothing heavier than air could fly. It was claimed that thinking about going to the moon was crazy. It was believed that in the whole world there was room for only five computers. It was held that there was never water on Mars. (The list is endless.)

Maybe it's time to revise and discard all those beliefs that, no matter where or when we have acquired them, serve only as those blinders that horses wear so that they can only see in a certain direction. In other words, we must open our minds, because the future is not the day after today, but an expansion of consciousness.

But how far does the realm of the supposedly impossible come true? This is one possible answer: direct communications with distant extraterrestrial civilizations. And it's not science fiction.

A few days ago, scientists from the International Center for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) at Curtin University, Australia, claimed that a signal detected 4,000 light-years from Earth could be “proof of extraterrestrial life”.

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