Quantum computing is even more dangerous than artificial intelligence for humanity. This is the opinion of Vivek Wadhwa and Mauritz Kop, two American experts sounding the alarm in an article…
Artificial intelligence raises many concerns. By the day, its capabilities are increasing at a lightning pace.
With the emergence of tools such as MidJourney or Dall-E 2, AI can now generate works of art in a matter of seconds. Similarly, a robot rapper has just signed with Capitol.
At the rate things are going, it will probably only take a few years for AI to outperform humans in all fields. A few weeks ago, a Google engineer was even fired for having declared that an AI had become conscious…
According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, computers will have human-like intelligence by 2029. Furthermore, he believes that artificial intelligence could become the greatest threat to humanity if governments don’t regulate it.
Already today, this technology is being exploited in dangerous ways. Visit authorities use it to monitor public space and social networks, and manufacturers of autonomous weapons do business with governments. Likewise, cybercriminals exploit it to create DeepFakes or formidable malware.
However, another technology could be far more dangerous than AI: quantum computing. This is the opinion of journalist Vivek Wadhwa and the researcher Mauritz Kop of Stanford University who sound the alarm in an article published by Foreign Policy.
In their view, it is imperative that humanity draw a lesson from AI’s lack of regulation. They warn that it is ” urgent to understand the potential impact of this technology, regulate it and prevent it from falling into the wrong hands before it’s too late”. ” …
As the two experts explain, quantum computing works very differently from today’s semiconductor-based computers. If the various projects underway around the world are successfully completed, these machines will be “immensely powerful”. and will be able to perform tasks in seconds that would take a conventional computer several million years.
Where semiconductors represent information as a series of 1s and 0s, quantum computers use a unit of computation called a qubit. Each qubit can have values of 1 and 0 simultaneously. thanks to a property of quantum physics known as superposition. This enables a massive and exponential increase in computing power.
Technology that changes everything
If Quantum Computing leaves the experimental stage, it could revolutionize our lives. Quantum computers will be able to process far too vast volumes of data for today’s computers, and will make it possible, for example, to improve weather forecasts, financial analysis, logistics planning, space research or drug discovery.
Several basic applications have already been unveiled. Researchers have developed quantum sensors capable of detecting and measure electromagnetic signalsand one has enabled precise measurement of the Earth’s magnetic field from the ISS.
In another experiment in the Netherlands, researchers succeeded in teleport information through a rudimentary quantum communication network. Instead of conventional optical fibers, the scientists used three small quantum processors to instantly transfer qubits.
These experiments have not yet led to any concrete use cases, but could lay the foundations for a future quantum Internet enabling transfer data at the speed of light…
A new weapon in the hands of criminals
Unfortunately, it is highly likely that criminals will also get their hands on of this new technology. Quantum computing could help them to compromise bank databases, to intercept private communications and decrypt passwords.
Indeed, current cryptography encodes data in large combinations of numbers that are impossible for a classical computer to crack in a reasonable time. This is not a problem for the quantum computer, which can try all combinations thanks to quantum mechanics, and guess the code almost instantaneously.
Furthermore, because of the immense power and revolutionary applications, it is likely that quantum computing projects are already underway in the defense field and other branches of government.
These research projects are carried out in the greatest secrecywhich makes it impossible to know what progress has really been made in the field of quantum computing.
Officially, Quantum Computing projects are underway in France, China, Russia, GermanyThe Netherlands, Great Britain, Canada and India. Major companies such as IBM, Google, Intel and Microsoft are also conducting research, as are numerous start-ups, universities and defense contractors.
The major world powers are already competing around quantum computing, and are engaged in a veritable race for domination of this new technology.
In the United States, Joe Biden’s administration is concerned about losing this battle, and took two key steps in May 2022. A National Quantum Initiative Committee was placed directly under the authority of the White House, while a second committee was appointed to direct government agencies with the aim of ensuring U.S. supremacy while limiting security risks for cryptographic systems.
In France, Emmanuel Macron unveiled the national strategy on quantum technologies in January 2021. An investment of 1.8 billion euros was announced for ” guarantee and perpetuate the country’s independence in this technological field that will shape the future “.
France’s ambition is to hold ” a complete quantum computer prototype first-generation general-purpose computer “by 2023. The government also intends to a national quantum computing platform available to researchers, startups and specialists to create new use cases.
China currently dominates several areas of quantum technology. These include quantum networks and quantum processors.
Two of the world’s most powerful quantum computers have been built in China. Already in 2017, scientists at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei built the first quantum communication network using advanced satellites.
These publicly unveiled projects have a purely scientific aim. However, they demonstrate that China enjoys a large lead over the great powers of the West…
AI and Quantum Computing: the dangerous link
Several experiments aim to combine quantum computing and artificial intelligence with the aim of overcoming the limits of traditional computers.
At present, large Machine Learning models require several months of training on powerful computers because of the vast number of calculations involved. For example, OpenAI’s GPT-3 model has 175 billion parameters.
For AI to become truly intelligent, the number of parameters will have to reach several trillions. Model training will therefore take even longer. However quantum computers can massively accelerate while consuming less energy and space.
In March 2020, Google launched TensorFlow Quantum: a hybrid AI and quantum platform capable of searching for patterns and anomalies in large volumes of data.
Unfortunately, the combination of AI and quantum computing is also increasing the risk of the emergence of conscious AI and dangerous for humanity…
A creature in urgent need of taming
Given the potential of quantum computing, Vivek Wadhwa and Mauritz Kop believe it is crucial not to make the same mistakes as with AI. In their view, this technology urgently needs to be regulated before it’s too late.
According to these two experts, the lack of regulation of AI is the cause of racist bias, the highlighting of conspiracy theories on social networksand attacks on democratic institutions through fake news.
The flaws in AI computer code leading it to make unpredictable and erroneous decisions. In 2021, the quantum community called for this problem to be solved as a matter of urgency.
For Wadhwa and Kop, it seems important to carry out targeted checks to prevent theft of intellectual property by China or other countries. Patents and trade secrets must be secured in the same way that technology was controlled during the Cold War.
Furthermore, to avoid the ethical problems that have arisen with AI and Machine Learning, governments must ensure that quantum computing respects democratic valueshuman rights and fundamental freedoms.
They need to learn from how countries have or have not manage previous revolutionary technologies such as AI, nanotechnology, biotechnology or nuclear fission.
For these two specialists, the United States and other democratic nations must not make the same mistake they did with AI.. They must “ preparing today for tomorrow’s quantum era “…
What about you? Do you think quantum computing is even more dangerous than AI? Will governments succeed in regulating this technology to avoid the worst excesses? Give us your opinion in comments!