If you're already nervous about how Google seems to know you're thinking about buying a new pair of khakis before you do, this news certainly won't ease your mind.
The already seemingly omniscient search giant says it has made a breakthrough in computing tech that could lead to a new generation of super-powerful machines.
According to the study the company just published in the journalNature, Google says its superconducting processor called Sycamore has solved -- in less than three and a half minutes -- a math problem so complicated it would take current supercomputers 10 thousand years to crack.
How'd they do it? It's called quantum computing, something on which researchers have been working for nearly four decades. And yes, it's next-level technical, but here's the non-nerd explanation.
Standard computers use billions of tiny transistors to process information by noting whether a transistor is either 'on' or 'off' and then translate those two states into binary code, which in turn is translated into information. Quantum computers, however, aren't limited to processing information in just two states -- quantum computers can process information in exponentially large states simultaneously. Result: scary-fast,Star Trek-type supercomputers.
Putting aside Sycamore's potentially scary Skynet-like possibilities, Google says such computing power will be invaluable to the study of chemistry and physics, thanks to its ability to run immensely complicated simulations.
Work still needs to be done to see if the machine's abilities can be scaled down to everyday life, like to poweryour always-listening but allegedly not always listeningAlexa-voiced devices.