Quantum Computers, Hackers or Helpers of Tomorrow?

by Scimson on September 20, 2013 - 12:47am

The world of computer science is one the fastest rising technology of all time. According to Moore’s law, the performance of processors doubles every year and a half. However, because of the physical world’s limits, it is believed by many that this law, which has revealed itself to be true since 1970, will hit a barrier in the years 2020. To avoid this problem, researchers have begun searching for new ways to compute based on more recent theories. This is where quantum computing comes in, which, as its name suggests, is based on quantum mechanics. Theoretically, quantum computing would lead to a nearly infinite speed of computation. With advances being made in this domain, Moore’s law could even one day be over-passed. For a computer science student like myself, it is always interesting to forecast computers with limitless power. One of the most renowned future application of quantum computing is actually its decoding capabilities. A quantum computer could theoretically crack any code instantaneously, which gives rise to challenge and interest for people in the field of computer science.

Should we have quantum computers, despite the fact that they pose a privacy threat?

I think quantum computers can be safe and positive for many aspects of our lives. First, any operation requiring a computer would be rendered much faster and less frustrating. It also poses limitless possibilities for programmers to develop more and more enriched software, which can provide usefulness on a day to day basis. It could also help in the development of artificial intelligence by providing more processing power to the said entities, which, according to my previous article, also have their load of usefulness. I do not believe there would be such a big treat to global information security. Right now, the methods used to protect and encode data could easily be broken by such a computer. However, with quantum computers to defend the data, I believe computer scientists can come up with new ideas to encode because they will also have their own processing power. Also, as described in the article of Jesse Emspak, quantum mechanics can provide a mean for information teleportation, leading to a greater and much faster network. Overall, I think quantum computers won’t be threat to privacy when they will come along since progress pushes progress.

On the other hand, some people might think that their personal belonging and information might be at risk and that the implementation of such computers would lead to greater problems. If computer scientists are unable to develop new protection methods, any hacker could get into anyone’s bank account and change a few values. The numerical economical system we currently operate in would probably fall down since most wealth in the world doesn’t really exist, but is only stored as numbers in a database. Also, on a larger scale, the first country to put its hands on a real quantum computer will have a significant advantage over any other on the military level. This is a real issue since a country could bring down the entire network of another, thus possibly leading to a war, which would be even more devastating, or even simply imposing their will on others. The privacy threat is too big both for individuals and organizations.

Should we encourage privacy and current systems over progress, or should progress lead us into the future?



I think that we should progress for many reasons. Just like our ancestors, they progressed by adapting to new life style and we have to do the same by adapting now. I think with the new quantum computers it may pose a threat but I think we can manage it by taking certain procedures. By reading your article and your post, I think that the scientists will definitely find a method to have protection in order to fight the hackers. When the Internet first came out, it was exactly this fear where our privacy will be invaded.