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Using new technology comes with its share of risks and rewards. Quantum computing, a technological breakthrough, has been a topic of frequent debate especially because of the risks that it poses to our society. But that hasn’t stopped the growing interest in the field. Let’s get to know about what makes this tech so interesting. 

What Is Quantum Computing?

Quantum computing is an emerging technology that is based on the principles of quantum theory. By using them, quantum computers can solve problems at higher speeds compared to classical ones. Discovered in the 1980s, quantum computing is used in different industries – from security, to finance, to pharmaceuticals, and so much more. 

Traditional computers make use of ones and zeroes to carry out their operations, while quantum computers make use of qubits. An important feature of qubits is superposition which allows the simultaneous representation of one and zero. When the number of qubits in a computer increases, so does the computing power. 

Is Quantum Computing a Threat to Society?

With advanced technologies, it’s reasonable to question the disadvantages they can bring to society. Quantum computing is no exception to this. There are a few risks associated with quantum computers and many organizations are finding ways to work around this. Let’s get to know more about how this tech poses a threat to society.

Cybersecurity Risks

The biggest argument against quantum computing is that it’s a major cybersecurity threat. Cryptographic encryption, in particular, is greatly affected by this modern technology. Encryption is found everywhere in the digital space. Sending emails or withdrawing money from the ATM are day-to-day activities that require some form of encryption, which keeps your data secure. With a powerful quantum computer, solving problems can be done in a matter of hours in comparison to classical computers which could take millions of years. That means that confidential information can be accessed with the right tools. Hence, the current form of cryptographic encryption might not be enough to keep your data safe. 

While this may sound alarming, it’s good to know that researchers are working on solving these problems. New quantum-safe algorithms are being identified that can withstand the threat that quantum computing can bring. More and more organizations must gear up for the transition to quantum-safe cryptography before large-scale quantum computers are used. The good news is that it isn’t too late. Governments, specifically Germany and the United States,  are slowly incorporating quantum-safe cryptography into their organizational processes, even going as far as including it in their requirements. 

Quantum Technologies In Warfare

Industrialized countries have kept their eye on quantum computing as it was considered a key component in defense technologies. China, the Netherlands, and the United States are countries doing their research on quantum technologies. While it’s too early to say that this could build up some tension between nations, one shouldn’t underestimate the possibility of this event turning into a reality. 

When two countries are at war, the nation with access to large-scale quantum computers has the advantage. The high costs of quantum computers mean that not all governments gain access to using this innovation. The opponent without access to quantum technologies is at a severe disadvantage. Well-equipped governments are capable of accessing confidential data, so the lagging country can expect to be outsmarted at every turn. 

How Can Quantum Computing Help Society?

That doesn’t mean that quantum computing can’t help our society. Its use is still being researched across different sectors, and it’s said to show great promise. Let’s delve into why quantum computing isn’t as bad as others paint it to be: 

Medical Research

A powerful tool in drug discovery, quantum computing can shorten the drug development process that spans up to more than 10 years. Given their power, quantum computers can review different molecules simultaneously.  Hence, this cuts a significant amount of costs and shortens the amount of time needed to release a drug in the market. This is good news for scientists.

Weather Forecasting

Quantum computing could make use of large data sets to create weather forecasts. Classical computers seem to be limited by their processing power, hence the forecasts we see today aren’t always entirely accurate. With the help of quantum technologies, weather forecasts are done more quickly and accurately, even when dealing with a huge amount of data. Accurate weather forecasts are crucial to many industries, particularly agriculture. The result of this accuracy is an increase in crop yields – an added boost to national economies. 

In Conclusion

Considering how powerful quantum computing is, it’s reasonable to be worried about its threats to our society. But that shouldn’t discount the advantages that it provides to multiple industries. Whatever happens, enterprises should be ready for the advent of quantum computers. That could mean watching out for the latest developments, protecting your software supply chain against attacks, or even creating research teams to help with the transition to quantum computing. 

One might ask, when will quantum computing be a threat to society? The answer ultimately depends on how our security systems can catch up with these powerful computers. As long as we keep moving forward to create quantum-safe cryptography, then the future is bright for technology.

Author: Regi Publico.  Regi is a full-time writer who is also an artist for fun. She takes pride in her towering collection of books and loves reading about anything under the sun. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge through every article that she writes.