The reporter who asked Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau to explain quantum computing got owned.
According to London Free Press, the prime minister was at Canada’s University of Waterloo for a funding announcement when the reporter hit Trudeau with a joking question about quantum computing. Reporters and Canada’s population on social media were surprised and impressed by Trudeau’s response.
“I was like YEAHH I voted for this guy,” Twitter user @smoakoverwatch tweeted.
— io9 (@io9) April 16, 2016
A reporter said to Trudeau that he was going to ask the prime minister about quantum computing, but instead opted to ask when Canada was going to rejoin the mission against ISIL. Trudeau instead stunned the crowd with his response, according to Macleans.
“Normal computers work, either there’s power going through a wire or not. It’s 1 or a 0. They’re binary systems,” Trudeau said, to the surprise of the reporters and later, social media. “A quantum state can be much more complex than that because, as we know, things can be both particle and wave at the same time, and the uncertainty around quantum states allows us to encode more information into a much smaller computer.”
Ask most laypeople, and they may give you a questioning look when you ask them to explain in a nutshell what quantum computing is. While Prime Minister Trudeau’s response was apt, given the location in which he was making his funding announcement — he was at the University of Waterloo’s Perimeter Institute, announcing $50 million in funding to allow them to continue their cutting edge research in fundamental physics, according to Gizmodo — it would be quite easy to say that there are many who would not be able to sufficiently explain what quantum computing is simply and efficiently.
The Gizmodo piece said, quoting physicist Jon Butterworth’s comments to the Guardian,“It is the kind of thing any sufficiently engaged politician could pick up from a decent briefing, given expert help. Such help is available in abundance at Perimeter, and available anywhere to any suitably senior politician who wants it. Kudos to Trudeau for being clever, interested and confident enough to do this.”
Interestingly, Trudeau did return to the reporter’s thinly veiled question about whether or not Canada would return to the mission against the Islamic State, though he did not announce any new measures against the terrorist organization.
Times of India blogger Chidanand Rajghatta had high praise for Trudeau as a leader and suggested that perhaps he has become one of the world’s most emotionally intelligent leaders.
“Justin Trudeau has a long way to go, but when it comes to empathy, compassion, values, etc — all more important than knowing what is quantum computing — he has made a fine start,” the blogger wrote.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) April 17, 2016
Trudeau was not the only heavy hitter present at the funding announcement. British physicist Stephen Hawking announced Trudeau’s appearance via a prerecorded video, according to News 24.
Other publications, however, opted to comment about Trudeau’s charm and good looks while discussing the former teacher’s mini-lesson on quantum computing. Slate noted that “the fact remains that a hot man who runs a big country demonstrated that he understands quantum computing well enough to define it on the fly. It’s hard not to get the feeling that other world leaders—who are not hot—and other hot people—who are not world leaders—are simple and binary by comparison; only Justin Trudeau’s charm achieves a quantum state.”
Slate also suggested that perhaps Trudeau was tiring of being treated like a “himbo meme queen,” and said that Trudeau’s explanation of quantum computing was comparable to softcore pornography. While the truth of such a comparison lies solely up to the reader’s interpretation, it can safely be argued that Trudeau is, in fact, well informed about subjects that the average Canadian may not always be.
Now, if Canadians could get a completely clear response as what Trudeau’s views about Canada’s involvement in the war on terror might be.
[Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]