Quantum Computing is Actual Magic

Chris Ferrie
4 min readJun 26, 2024

Magic, as performed by illusionists on stages and streets, captivates audiences worldwide. Yet, their “magic” isn’t the mystical force of fiction but rather a clever blend of mechanics, misdirection, and meticulous design. The illusion holds only as long as the trick’s inner workings remain hidden from view. A shift in perspective — a different camera angle, perhaps — could reveal the secrets behind the illusion, stripping it of its mystique.

The “magic” we see being performed by people is thus not actual magic. At best, it’s an amusing simulation of magic.

Quantum computing promises to perform feats that were once thought impossible. But it presents a form of magic that defies simple explanations and mechanical unmasking. It’s actual magic.

Let me explain.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

A magician uses a black box rather than a transparent one for obvious reasons. Quantum computers are also “black boxes” — in the technical sense — but with some crucial differences.

A black box is a system with only its inputs and outputs visible. Most things are merely treated as black boxes, such as your digital computer, for example.



Chris Ferrie

Quantum theorist by day, father by night. Occasionally moonlighting as a author. csferrie.com