The world will become keenly aware of the frantic superpower race to build a Quantum Computer and will begin to understand this high-stakes contest may be as critical for world cyber-security as the race for atomic weapons was for world security after WWII. Known as QC, a bulked-up Quantum Computer could undermine the very foundation of modern security by breaking what were once considered unbreakable asymmetric keys in just minutes.
A nuclear arms race that altered the shape of world history commenced in 1945 when people witnessed the unbridled power of nuclear bombs. Today, a different race is underway: an innovation sprint has commenced that could well alter the shape of digital history — but the Manhattan project of the 21st century is not focused on weapons. Instead, it is focused on using quantum mechanical principles to break down encryption, and the implications for security and society are huge.
Quantum Computing is not lethal like atomic weapons, but if its discovery occurs in secret, it has the potential to destroy the very foundation of modern data protection. It is a sure bet that China and other nations will join Russia and the United States in the quest for global digital control. The NSA ominously calls the future winner of this innovation race ‘Owning the Net’.
This is not the stuff of science fiction. In a sign of the rapid advances being made in the field, NASA just recently disclosed its own early version of a Quantum Computer developed by a Canadian company.
In 2016 we will get more and more public data points that mark the steep trajectory of the innovation curve of Quantum Computing, as we saw recently with the disclosure that Google demonstrated an early version of a QC. In parallel, there no doubt will be hidden research conducted in the shadows. The first nation state, university, or corporation that reaches the breakthrough inflection point on the innovation curve will have taken the lead in a dangerous race for global digital supremacy. The nature of innovation is that game-changing ideas can be discovered at any time and when they are least expected. Stay tuned.
Vice President Product at Rubicon Labs Inc.