Weapon of Mass Disruption
Quantum Computers are heralded as the next step in the evolution of data processing. The future of this technology promises us a tool that can outperform any conventional system, handling more data and at faster speeds than even the most powerful of todays supercomputers.
However, at the present juncture, much of the science dedicated to this field is still focused on the technologys ultimate utilization. We know that quantum computers could manage data at a rate that is remarkable, but exactlywhat kind of data processing will they be good for?
This uncertainty raises some interesting questions about the potential impact of such a theoretically powerful tool.
Last month, some of the leading names in quantum technologies gathered at the semi-annual International Conference on Quantum Technologies in Moscow. Futurism was in attendance and was able to sit and talk with some of these scientists about how their work is moving us closer to practical quantum computers, and what impact such developments will have on society.
One of the most interesting topics of discussion was initiated by Alexander Lvovsky, Quantum Optics group leader at the Russian Quantum Center and Professor of Physics at the University of Calgary in Canada. Speaking at a dinner engagement, Lvovsky stated that quantum computers are a tool of destruction, not creation.
What is it about quantum computers that would incite such a claim? In the end, it comes down to one thing, which happens to be one of the most talked about potential applications for the technology:Breaking modern cryptography.
Today, all sensitive digital information sent over the internet is encrypted in order to protect the privacy of the parties involved. Already, we have seen instances where hackers were able to seize this information by breaking the encryption. According to Lvovsky, the advent of the quantum computer will only make that process easier and faster.
In fact, he asserts that no encryptionexisting today would be able to hide from the processing power of a functioning quantum computer. Medical records, financial information, even the secrets of governments and military organizations would be free for the takingmeaning that the entire world order could be threatened by this technology.
The consensus between other experts is, essentially, that Lvovsky isnt wrong. In a sense, hes right, Wenjamin Rosenfeld, a physics professor at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, stated in an interview. He continued, taking a quantum computer as a computer,theres basically not much you can do with this at the moment; however, he went on to explain that this may soon be changing.
To break this down, there are only two quantum algorithms at the moment, one to allow a quantum computer to search a database, and the other,Shors algorithm, which can be used by a quantum computer to break encryption.
Notably, during the conference, Mikhail Lukin, aco-founder of theRussian Quantum Centerand head of the Lukin Group of the Quantum Optics Laboratory at Harvard University, announced that he had successfully built and tested a 51-qubit quantum computerand hes going to use that computer to launch Shors algorithm.
Vladimir Shalaev, who sits on the International Advisory Board of the Russian Quantum Center and is a professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University, takes a more nuanced approach to this question, saying it is neither a tool of destruction nor creationit is both: I would disagree with him. I think I would say that any new breakthrough breeds both evil and good things.
He evoked the development of laser technology as an example, saying, Lasers changed our lives with communications, surgery, their use in machinery, but they are also used in missiles to destroy buildings.But I think this is life. Nothing comes with only good, there is always bad as well. So I dont think it is just a destructive technology, it could also be a constructive one.
There is a great deal of truth to Shalaevs assessment. Nuclear technology was primarily developed as a destructive tool. After the war, many more positive applications were found, impacting energy, medicine, and agriculture, among many other fields. Quantum computers may not be capable of the physical destruction of a nuclear bomb, but their potential application in relation to encryption is the digital equivalent, making this topic worthy of reflection in these early stages.
So, if quantum computers do have such dangerous potential, why are we pursuing them? As Lukin expounds, there are other potential applications outside of encryption breaking, applications that many experts are excited about.
For example, Lukin sees enormous potential in quantum sensors. It has the potential to change the field of medical diagnostics, where some of the tasks which require huge labs can be performed on the scale of aniPhone. Imagine the implications for third world countries in parts of the world like Africa. It can really allow to diagnose and treat patients. I think theres actually a huge impact on society, he explained.
Also, the processing power of quantum computers could push research in artificial intelligence (AI) forward by leaps and bounds. Indeed, it could assist this field to such a degree that AI could be a part of the answer to the problem proposed by Lvovsky. To that end, Lukins asserts, Im fairly convinced that, before quantum computers start breaking encryption, we will have new classical encryption, we will have new schemes based on quantum computers, based on quantum cryptography, which will be operational.
Much like lasers or nuclear weapons, the scientists involved in creating quantum computers are unable to predict the total utility of this technology. There very well could be a host of world changing applications for quantum computers. Still, even with just considering the encryption busting potential of the technology, we must remain cognizant of the power we areunleashing.
- Google claims to have invented a quantum computer, but IBM begs to differ - The Conversation CA - January 22nd, 2020
- Xanadu Receives $4.4M Investment from SDTC to Advance its Photonic Quantum Computing Technology - Quantaneo, the Quantum Computing Source - January 22nd, 2020
- U of T's Peter Wittek, who will be remembered at Feb. 3 event, on why the future is quantum - News@UofT - January 17th, 2020
- Quantum Computing Technologies Market 2019, Size, Share, Global Industry Growth, Business Statistics, Top Leaders, Competitive Landscape, Forecast To... - January 17th, 2020
- This Week In Security: Windows 10 Apocalypse, Paypal Problems, And Cablehaunt - Hackaday - January 17th, 2020
- Kitchener's Angstrom Engineering is making a quantum leap with its next-generation technology - TheRecord.com - January 17th, 2020
- Xanadu Receives $4.4M Investment from SDTC to Advance its Photonic Quantum Computing Technology - Yahoo Finance - January 16th, 2020
- The dark side of IoT, AI and quantum computing: Hacking, data breaches and existential threat - ZDNet - January 16th, 2020
- 'How can we compete with Google?': the battle to train quantum coders - The Guardian - January 16th, 2020
- IBM heads US patent list for 27th consecutive year - Technology Decisions - January 16th, 2020
- New Technique May Be Capable of Creating Qubits From Silicon Carbide Wafer - Tom's Hardware - January 14th, 2020
- The hunt for the 'angel particle' continues - Big Think - January 13th, 2020
- How to verify that quantum chips are computing correctly - MIT News - January 13th, 2020
- Googles Quantum Supremacy will mark the End of the Bitcoin in 2020 - The Coin Republic - January 13th, 2020
- Bleeding edge information technology developments - IT World Canada - January 13th, 2020
- Jeffrey Epstein scandal: MIT professor put on leave, he 'failed to inform' college that sex offender made donations - CNBC - January 10th, 2020
- The teenager that's at CES to network - Yahoo Singapore News - January 10th, 2020
- AI, ML and quantum computing to cement position in 2020: Alibabas Jeff Zhang - Tech Observer - January 8th, 2020
- Perspective: End Of An Era | WNIJ and WNIU - WNIJ and WNIU - January 8th, 2020
- Volkswagen carried out the world's first pilot project for traffic optimization with a quantum computer - Quantaneo, the Quantum Computing Source - January 6th, 2020
- The 12 Most Important and Stunning Quantum Experiments of 2019 - Livescience.com - December 31st, 2019
- Physicists Just Achieved The First-Ever Quantum Teleportation Between Computer Chips - ScienceAlert - December 31st, 2019
- Quantum Supremacy and the Regulation of Quantum Technologies - The Regulatory Review - December 31st, 2019
- The Best of Science in 2019 - Research Matters - December 31st, 2019
- Technology And Society: Can Marketing Save The World? - Forbes - December 31st, 2019
- From the image of a black hole to 'artificial embryos', 2019 was the year of many firsts in science - Economic Times - December 28th, 2019
- Information teleported between two computer chips for the first time - New Atlas - December 26th, 2019
- Same Plastic That Make Legos Could Also Be The Best Thermal Insulators Used in Quantum Computers - KTLA Los Angeles - December 26th, 2019
- Quanta's Year in Math and Computer Science (2019) - Quanta Magazine - December 26th, 2019
- 2019 EurekAlert! Trending Release List the most international ever - Science Codex - December 26th, 2019
- The big science and environment stories of 2019 - BBC News - December 26th, 2019
- Could quantum computing be the key to cracking congestion? - SmartCitiesWorld - December 15th, 2019
- ProBeat: AWS and Azure are generating uneasy excitement in quantum computing - VentureBeat - December 15th, 2019
- Will quantum computing overwhelm existing security tech in the near future? - Help Net Security - December 15th, 2019
- Quantum expert Robert Sutor explains the basics of Quantum Computing - Packt Hub - December 15th, 2019
- Traditional cryptography doesn't stand a chance against the quantum age - Inverse - December 15th, 2019
- China is beating the US when it comes to quantum security - MIT Technology Review - December 15th, 2019
- Technology to Highlight the Next 10 Years: Quantum Computing - Somag News - December 15th, 2019
- Quantum Trends And The Internet of Things - Forbes - December 6th, 2019
- Quantum supremacy is here, but smart data will have the biggest impact - Quantaneo, the Quantum Computing Source - December 6th, 2019
- Beer With Bella: Tyson Yunkaporta - The New York Times - December 6th, 2019
- The New Cold War? Its With China, and It Has Already Begun - The New York Times - December 2nd, 2019
- How Countries Are Betting on to Become Supreme in Quantum Computing - Analytics Insight - December 2nd, 2019
- Study: Our universe may be part of a giant quantum computer - The Next Web - November 28th, 2019
- First quantum computing conference to take place in Cambridge - Cambridge Independent - November 28th, 2019
- Threat of quantum computing hackathon to award $100,000 - App Developer Magazine - November 28th, 2019
- World High Performance Computing (HPC) Market Oulook Report, 2019-2024 - HPC Will Be Integral to Combined Classical & Quantum Computing Hybrid... - November 28th, 2019
- ETU "LETI" first won the Bertrand Meyer Award - QS WOW News - November 28th, 2019
- Global Quantum Computing Market is Set to Experience Revolutionary Growth With +25% CAGR by 2025 | Top Players D-Wave Systems Inc., QX Branch, Google... - November 28th, 2019
- Japan plots 20-year race to quantum computers, chasing US and China - Nikkei Asian Review - November 23rd, 2019
- A super cover illustration highlights superconductivity research - The Mix - November 23rd, 2019
- The future that graphene built - Knowable Magazine - November 23rd, 2019
- New Berlin foundation turns AI into immersive art - Art Newspaper - November 23rd, 2019
- Maryanna Saenko and Steve Jurvetson of Future Ventures talk SpaceX, the Boring Co. and . . . ayahuasca - TechCrunch - November 23rd, 2019
- Quantum Hackathon With $100,000 Prize Receives Overwhelming Response - Yahoo Finance - November 22nd, 2019
- Quantum Computing: Challenges, Trends and the Road Ahead - CMSWire - November 20th, 2019
- Researchers Have Achieved a New Level of Quantum Supremacy - TechDecisions - November 20th, 2019
- Will quantum computers revolutionize the world? The Courier - The Courier - November 20th, 2019
- Reality is subjective to the observer - scientists make stunning claim in quantum study - Express.co.uk - November 20th, 2019
- Geeking Out With Legendary Futurist and Investor Steve Jurvetson - mySanAntonio.com - November 20th, 2019
- Hedera Hashgraph (HBAR) Founder Says Quantum Computing Is Not a Threat to Cryptocurrency, Although That Claim Is Debatable Crypto.IQ | Bitcoin and... - November 18th, 2019
- Innovation Focused Firms Issue Open Call for Hackers - IndustryWeek - November 18th, 2019
- Quantum computer - Simple English Wikipedia, the free ... - October 11th, 2019
- Topological quantum computer - Wikipedia - October 11th, 2019
- What is a quantum computer? Explained with a simple example. - September 11th, 2019
- Qubits and Defining the Quantum Computer | HowStuffWorks - September 5th, 2019
- For a Split Second, a Quantum Computer Made History Go ... - May 13th, 2019
- Noisy Quantum Computers Could Be Good for Chemistry Problems ... - April 11th, 2019
- What is a Quantum Computer? - Definition from Techopedia - April 11th, 2019
- What Is a Quantum Computer? | JSTOR Daily - April 11th, 2019
- Measuring Quantum Computer Power With IBM Quantum Volume ... - April 9th, 2019
- Explainer: What is a quantum computer ... - March 24th, 2019
- What Can We Do with a Quantum Computer? | Institute for ... - March 7th, 2019
- Qubit - Wikipedia - February 25th, 2019
- Quantum computer | computer science | Britannica.com - January 10th, 2019
- IBMs new quantum computer is a symbol, not a breakthrough - January 9th, 2019
- IBM unveils the world's first quantum computer that ... - January 9th, 2019
- Were Close to a Universal Quantum Computer, Heres Where We're At - November 28th, 2018
- Schrdinger's Killer App: Race to Build the World's First ... - August 7th, 2018
- How Quantum Computers Work - May 3rd, 2018