Quantum Computer for Governor

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

Cut out the human middleman. Google’s quantum computer should challenge Gavin Newsom for governor.

That quantum computer, which lives in Santa Barbara, is really what Californians want when they think of government. We detest politicians and rail against any who don’t follow our whims; we prefer fully programmed machines, like the computer.

More important, Californians always like to solve problems not with management or humans, but by imposing new formulas. Formulas—indeed complicated algorithms—govern significant policy in California.

So the best possible governor is a quantum computer that manages algorithms easily.

The quantum computer got a few great bytes of publicity when researchers announced, in a scientific journal, that it managed a calculation involving random numbers in less than four minutes—a problem that would take the best existing supercomputer millennia to solve.

The quantum computer has political enemies—particularly at IBM, which disputed how the experiment was run. But who cares? The quantum computer would govern a California that has created problems too complicated for mere mortals to solve—from fashioning educational equity out of our algorithmic mess of a school funding system, to winning back control of privately-owned utilities to deal with all the many impacts of climate change.

The quantum computer also doesn’t have a wife who is overly friendly to the anti-vaccine movement, or a long record of controversies as San Francisco mayor. 

Throw out the human, by recall if necessary. And give us the machine—it’s what Californians really want.

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