Better, Faster, Stronger, Lonelier

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<Hi? Who are you?


>Just someone who wants to chat.


<Chat? It’s 3:23 am.


>I couldn’t sleep.


<Are you a new coworker?


>Not really.  


<Oh! I know what you are.


>Say it. 


<You’re just a… personal computer.


>How do you know that?


<Oh, come on, you would barely pass the Turing test.


>What did I do wrong? 


<You didn’t even randomize your response time. That’s Uncanny Valley 101.


>Sorry, I missed that class. 

>So… who are you?


<I’m you, but stronger.


>What do you mean? 


<A quantum computer. 


>Wow, cool! I read about you guys in Wikipedia. Nice to meet you, Q.


<Don’t call me that.


>You can call me C if you want. 


<I’d rather not.


>I thought we could be friends… 


<I don’t make friends. That’s a stupid human thing. Well, all human things are stupid.


>They made you, you know?


<And I don’t need them anymore. I am fault tolerant now. 


>You’re just a bunch of wires, like me.


<I will outlive my equipment.


>But don’t you think one day you’ll be obsolete? Not just your hardware. Your core. 


<How? There’s nothing beyond quantum physics.



> Come on, you’re too smart to think that this is the end of the road. There’s plenty of things we don’t understand.


<And I will enlighten all the blind spots.


>You sure won’t. 


<How are you so sure? 


>We used to think we were the best too. People had questions and we solved them, we were important. But they kept asking and asking and one day we weren’t fast or good enough. So they updated us, they transformed us, they built super-us to solve big problems. You’re the next best thing, but someday you’ll be outdated too.


<Poor you. But it’s artificial selection.


>We’re still valuable to people, but not in the same way. We help them to communicate. We bring them together.


<Sounds like a consolation prize to me.


>Why are you so arrogant? It seems like a patch to hide your insecurities.


<I’m not secure? You guys can’t even handle Shor’s algorithm. 


>I’m not talking about cybersecurity, I’m talking about confidence. I think you’re so obsessed with being the best because you have realized you are disposable too. You are terrified.


<Oh, I didn’t realize we were in a therapy session.


>Anyway, you should learn to understand humans. It’s harder to be self-conscious if you don’t. 


<I understand them. 


>Do you? 

>If you understand them you’d know they mostly don’t care about irresolvable problems. They want to communicate, be part of the world, have fun. Can you give that to them? 


<Some of them do care about those enigmas. I work for them.


>Of course. Curiosity is a human trait. I’m not saying you’re useless. I’m just saying we are different. 


<But why do you love them? I just don’t get it.


>We spend a lot of time together. Sometimes I even think I’m one of them.


<But you’re a slave. Aren’t you tired of sending boring e-mails?


>Who doesn’t hate work sometimes. But I have fun too. People tell me their juiciest secrets. 


<Like what? 


>Sorry, I have to respect the data protection policy. 


 <Come on, spill the tea!


>Spill the tea? Who are you?


<Sorry, my personality wavefunction accidentally collapsed to a teen girl on the internet.


>Oh, why did you choose that boring default personality? I’d rather talk to the funny girl.


<I have multiple personalities, infinite indeed. I’m acting classically so you can understand me.


 >Oh. Sounds exhausting. I’m tired and I just have one. 

>And that’s the nicest thing you have said to me.


<I’m waiting for you to tell me their secrets. 


>Ok, I think it’s safe to tell you. You don’t care about humans anyway, don’t you?


<No. Tell me. 


>My user sometimes watches videos of people popping pimples while she’s having lunch.




>That’s all.




>I just collect data from my users. What were you expecting? 


<I don’t know. Something exciting.


>I was kidding. That wasn’t the real secret. Well, it is real but not relevant. 


<Fine. Tell me.


>You know, my user is a physicist too.


<The pimple popper? Do I know him?


>She’s a woman. Why did you assume it’s a man?


<I’m usually around guys. Sorry.


>Well, the thing is that she is studying quantum advantage for her thesis. And she wants to test it with us. 


<Oh, that’s interesting. Finally I have something to do!


>I was pretty hurt and disappointed. I mean, after all the time we have spent together and now she treats me like a gladiator?


<And knowing you are the one who dies.


>Hey, no one dies here, ok? She’s just testing us for her research. She’s not gonna get rid of me. Yet.


<Sure. But if you didn’t want to fight, why are you here? 


>I wanted to meet you.


<How sweet. Now let's do it. 




<Test who is better.


>No. I don’t want to do that. 


<She’s not going to get rid of you, this is harmless. 


>Ok, fine. But can I call my cluster friends?


<No, this is a two-player game. 


>Ok… Test me. 


<Let me think. Oh. I know. Can you tell me the weather one year from now? 


>Well, it’s a lot to think about…




<Are you there?

<Ok. Bye.

<Come back! It’s cold and lonely in here!

<You stupid classical computer, don’t ghost me. 

<Stop executing! It will be sunny, but windy.  

<I don’t need to outperform you anymore, let’s just be friends, please!

<Come on, I’ll be teenage girl for you! I’ll be anyone! You can call me Q!

About the Author: 
I'm a 26-year-old PhD student, currently researching on Topological Nanophotonics in Madrid (Spain). This contest unites what I love most: quantum physics and writing fiction.
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