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A very quantum Christmas (and Molly’s 2020 predictions)

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The circular stacks of glass tubes and gold wires and coils that are part of IBM's Q system look like the tiered layers of a steampunk wedding cake.

Part of IBM's quantum computing system, designed to one day solve problems that are too complex for today's computers., on display at the American Society of Civil Engineers convention in 2019. IBM

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It’s Christmas Eve and we’re all out of town. But we’re also in your feed today?

It’s almost as if we exist in some kind of quantum state … the perfect time to bring you one of our favorite interviews from the past year: UC Berkeley’s Steven Weber on quantum computing.

Since we talked with Weber in October, Google announced a breakthrough and claimed what they call “quantum supremacy” by completing a calculation in just three minutes and 20 seconds that would have taken existing supercomputers 10,000 years. IBM is disputing the achievement, but, in any case, there’s a lot to talk about.

Weber walks us through the weird science governing quantum computing, and what it could mean for Big Tech, the economy and the regular consumer.

Plus: This year we’re breaking up our annual predictions episode into three parts. This week we talk about how Molly Wood’s 2019 predictions turned out, and get her forecast for 2020.

Don’t forget, we have new daily Alexa explainers and email newsletters all through the holidays. Subscribe here, and check out last week’s issue if you missed it.

Finally, our end-of-year fundraiser ends in a week. Don’t wait: Get some socks or a blanket and lock down your spot for our 2020 AMA series now at Marketplace.org/donate.

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