The Butterfly Effect theorizes that the beating of the wings of a single butterfly in Japan could cause a hurricane in Hawaii. What it really means, is that everything in nature and the world is connected on some level, however insignificant it may seem. And the greatest connection is at the molecular level, beyond the nanoscale.
Much like the way smart systems can detect someone moving in the next room, by analyzing faint disturbances in the background WiFi signals, we can now ‘see’ into opaque materials, and sense chemical and physical changes in objects. We can accurately determine the rate of corrosion or stress fractures inside a steel girder, without x-rays, or discover contamination in a batch of milk or beer, without having to send a sample to the lab.
We can detect and identify cancer, without a biopsy.
This ‘quantum sensing’ has been made possible by innovative technology that used precision lasers to move and assemble individual molecules and atoms; now we can also measure how those molecules react to changes inside objects, down to a single photon.
Helped by advanced computing power, deep learning systems have been able to make sense of the apparent ‘noise’ that emanates from everything at a quantum level. Three years ago, MIT used this technique to see in total darkness; now we can apply it to all sorts of industrial and medical diagnostic problems.
At last we are able to measure the butterfly effect, and understand it, even if it is invisible in physical terms. Nanotech and AI have, together, unlocked the secrets of the quantum world!