Spring 2019

Quantum Technologies: Hype and Reality

Thursday, March 17th, 2022, 2:30 pm2:55 pm

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Chris Hoofnagle (UC Berkeley)


Calvin Lab Auditorium

Quantum technologies seem poised to change our lives and indeed, some predict quantum computing will trigger a near-term collapse in encryption and the development of privacy-busting, advanced ML techniques. In my recent book with Simson Garfinkel (Law & Policy for The Quantum Age, CUP 2022), we canvas the landscape of quantum technologies and make predictions about likely scenarios in quantum sensing, computing, and communications. We assess it likely that a quantum computing winter will take hold, making cryptanalysis a distant threat. At the same time, the spotlight on cryptanalysis has left both fantastic potential benefits from quantum technologies in the shadows, as well as a series of more likely and nearer term risks from quantum sensing and quantum simulation. Contrary to popular narratives, the biggest threat to individual privacy (and nation-state secrecy) comes from quantum sensing, which is becoming cheaper, easier to deploy, and resistant to countermeasures. Quantum sensing is strategically relevant, because of advanced sonar capabilities being developed. Turning to simulation, quantum simulation could change the world by giving us insights into nitrogen fixation and photosynthesis; it could also be used to optimize weapons.