The age of quantum computing is upon us and it will play an astronomical role in the building of our new society. Around the world, companies and countries are both racing to produce the first commercial quantum computer. Why is this? The reason that it will be such a crucial tool in this is because of two factors: its speed and computing power. This speed has the ability to be paired with artificial intelligence to speed up the process of building and training algorithms using machine learning and Deep Neural Nets. Google and the team over at Alphabet have already begun working on integrating the two and given their recent quantum breakthrough, its era may be even closer than we think.
The way quantum computers function is through the use of qubits. Classic computers utilize bits and store them as either a 0 or a 1, this creates a series of ons and offs that provide instructions on how to best process the information given. This is a large amount of processing power, but in comparison to the quantum computer’s qubit, it is easy to understand why the world is both wary and eager to uncover the mystery that is the quantum computer. A quibit has the ability to exist as both a 0 and a 1. This means that the amount of states that can be represented have endless possibilities and thus the ability is has to analyze information and help industries and institutions worldwide also knows no bounds. It is expected that the quantum computers of the future will be able to work on a level that is beyond what all other computers in the world working together could achieve.
The scope of the world will be altered with the advent of quantum computer’s processing. With the increased computing power, consider all the industries that will be affected. Some of the major areas affected will be in relation to Machine learning, Medicine, chemistry, education, and climate change. Machine learning is about pattern recognition. It uses algorithms to crunch large amounts of data and the goal is to maximize the number of comparisons you make between data to make the best models. Quantum computing will make processing data much faster and more effective than with a classical computer. Making a more powerful AI that possesses abilities beyond what we can imagine may come sooner than we know it. Quantum computing in medicine will allow us to model complex molecular interactions at an atomic level. It will be able to model over 20,000 proteins in a human genome and start to manipulate it to making new drugs from existing drugs that have not yet been discovered. In regard to education, quantum computing has the ability to revolutionize an industry that has for so long been slow to implement and understand the newest technologies for fear of change. Quantum computing paired with specific AI learning models possess the capabilities to train the students of the future. Paired with immersive technologies that currently exist, quantum computing allows for increased data collection which gives the AI a chance to learn more than it ever has before. With increased learning comes the ability to create a highly-accurate psychological and behavioral profile of students. Think of a future where we understand exactly how much students are struggling or emotionally entangled in the various course subjects just by looking at pupil size. This is happening now and will only become more prevalent with the use of quantum computers.
While there are definite benefits to quantum computing, such as the increased speed and power mentioned earlier, there are negatives that come along with too. There will be major disruptions that come with quantum computing as we move more into the future. The implications of quantum computing are important to know and understand because with its application will come major job losses and public security risks that can occur as we have more data to access. The phenomenon of quantum computers is already here and the impossible has been done. Though with this being said it will be years before the general public has a thorough enough understanding of the technology and it’s uses for any practical application. In order to prepare for this initial formal introduction, we will have to build a completely new security model. This is because our current model works on an encryption method known as cryptography. The theory behind cryptography is that when you multiply two large numbers together it is extremely difficult to break the sum back down into its prime factors. The problem is that this has been cracked years ago, yet we still use it as the basis for securing our most important information. In 1994, mathematician Peter Shor released an algorithm that performs integer factorization. Fortunately enough, this algorithm takes an enormous amount of computing power and takes forever to solve, but when quantum computers are introduced we will be in a great deal of danger. Temporal Defense Systems, a cybersecurity firm, has recently purchased one of the most powerful quantum computers available in hopes of building a base model for the necessary security system update. They claim that they will now be able to solve more complex computational problems faster, allowing for an increase in the pace of their security and solving a critical societal problem.
We must take this seriously as we begin to consider the implications of hackers entering into our technological grid. As the Internet of Things grows, so does the susceptibility to cyber attack. As mentioned before, quantum computing can easily break down the difficult encryption that currently exists with ease. A quantum computer can solve a 56-bit encryption in .322 milliseconds when compared with a classical computer that took 1 day to solve the same problem. We must begin to incorporate quantum cybersecurity into all of our platforms before the attacks begin. This can be done with the use of quantum keys as well as simply using the basic rules of privacy to ensure with the advent of quantum computing, our information and private information does not get released, especially to the wrong people.
Quantum computing has long been synonymous with innovation. With increased computing power comes unlimited solutions to outstanding problems in our society. While this is true and something to look forward to, there are things far less beneficial coming with it and we must prepare ourselves of the inevitability that is the quantum computing era. This will happen sooner than we anticipate but by understanding how it works, what it is capable of, and how we can protect ourselves, we have more of an opportunity to embrace and see all the benefits it can bring.