Quantum Computing: The Second Quantum Revolution Transformation Of How Business Is Conducted

Quantum Computing

By Rosario (Roy) Girasa and Emilio Collar

In the field of physics, we have experienced the quantum revolution in the early 1900s, while in the field of information systems we have experienced the digital revolution that began in the 1960s. We have reached a point in our technological development whereby researchers and scientists are combining what we have learned from the revolutions in physics and information systems to create a new revolution: quantum computing. The authors discuss the potential of the new technology from the perspectives of business, the legal implications, and society.

Introduction

The new century has ushered in technological changes that are occurring at an exponential rate. It began slowly with individuals working in garage-like atmosphere to advance earlier advances in computer technology to its evolution in almost endless uses that has altered the marketplace and the lives of almost every human person globally. We have observed its transformation into digital currencies exemplified by Bitcoin that is based on blockchain technology; to artificial intelligence which has and will continue to end simpler ways of living and doing business; and to arenas whereby occupations that were once secured are now in mortal danger of collapse or transformation to an almost unrecognizable degree.[1]

Some authors have called the development the Second Quantum Revolution. The First Quantum Revolution occurred a century ago when the concept of wave-particle duality was theorized and later proven by experimentation which showed that particles may at times act also like light waves and light waves as particles. Key figures of quantum mechanics were Max Planck, who theorized that light is emitted and absorbed in discrete forms or “quanta” rather than as a continuous electromagnetic wave; and Richard Feynman who first proposed the concept “quantum computing” in 1982. The result of the experimentation which proved that the phenomena of these discrete objects could be waves or particles at any given time is that quantum information is much more complex than the classical theory light consisting of particles. (Lloyd & Englund, 2016)

The digital revolution, also described as the third industrial revolution by Jeremy Rifkin, is the shift from mechanical and analog technology to digital electronics. (Rifkin, 2013) Combining the first quantum revolution and the digital revolution we are now entering the second quantum revolution (see figure 1). Whereas scientists were observers of quantum mechanics in order to understand how nature works, the Second Revolution seeks to use the knowledge to alter how nature operates by creating new atoms, and sub-particles to design and utilize the accomplishments to better the lives of others. (Dowling & Milburn, 2003) The latest emanation of transformational technology is that of quantum computing which threatens, if mastered, to cause disruption and lifestyle changes that would make substantial progressions in the most futuristic movies appear trivial. In this article, we will examine the basics of quantum computing and proceed to a discussion of governmental initiatives and regulatory promulgations. 

figure 1

Figure 1. Two distinct revolutions merge to create the 2nd quantum revolution. 

Revisiting Classic Computing 

Classical computers operate and carry information in terms of a string of binary bits of 1’s and 0’s, with “1” representing “on” and “0” for “off” electrical switches, the total number of which constitutes the state of the memory. Letters, numbers, even photographs with values given to each pixel, are presented by 1s and 0s in a sequential order. For example, using ASCII (American Standard Code) character codes, the number 4 electronically would be 0011 0100 while the letter T would be 0101 0100. A “bit” is the fundamental unit. The totality of bits is the size of the memory.

One goal of the technology underlying classic computers is the continual shrinkage of the size of the transistor. In the early 1950s the size of a transistor was the palm of your hand. (Gaudin, 2007) Generally speaking, the smaller the transistor the greater the computing power. Today we are reaching a point where reducing the size of a transistor any further will become impossible:

“As transistors are reduced to just seven nanometers long [1 nanometer = 1×10-9 m or 0.000000001m], engineers are fighting to keep an electric charge flowing in channels whose walls are only atoms thick. … Make the transistor any smaller, and the electric current that powers the processor’s calculations and logic simply jumps the channel or leaks out of the component after atoms meant to contain the flow of electrons are disrupted over time.” (Loeffler, 2019)

For computing power to continue to increase, we need a new technological revolution: quantum computing.

What is Quantum Computing?

The development of quantum computing promises to be as revolutionary as the creation of the Internet. It is based on quantum bits which in turn are premised on subatomic particles. Atoms (smallest units of matter: 1×10-10 m) are composed of one or more electrons (negative electric charge) and a nucleus having both protons (positive electrical charge) and non-electrical charged neutrons (except for hydrogen which does not contain a neutron). The electrons orbiting the nucleus are attracted to the nucleus by an electromagnetic force. There are other sub-atomic particles which include photons (high energy sub-atomic particle), quarks (smaller particles within neutrons and protons), neutrinos (very small mass and no electrical charge), gravitons (a quantum of gravity theory that has yet to be proven), and others, an extended discussion of which is beyond the scope of this text.

Quantum computing is in its early stage of development which may become the most significant scientific innovation affecting how data is compiled, analyzed, and utilized. It is based on quantum theory which studies how matter and energy interact within the atom. Its advances, if and when made practical in daily usage, would be able to process complex scientific and other data to an exponential degree previously thought either a futuristic possibility or impossible to achieve. The importance of quantum computing within the realm of quantum information science is that it potentially will expand economic and social development in the fields of microelectronics, photonics, material sciences, biotechnology, magnetic resonance imaging and other medical fields, engineering, national security, and numerous other areas.[2]

Quantum computing is in its early stage of development which may become the most significant scientific innovation affecting how data is compiled, analyzed, and utilized.

In quantum computing there are no fixed 1s and 0s; rather qubits are based on quantum mechanics and the laws of physics thereto. The laws governing quantum physics are different from that governing classical physics which are deterministic and regulate electromagnetism, gravity, and mechanics.[1] Quantum computing is probabilistic rather than deterministic whereby researchers rely on averaging the results of the phenomena inasmuch as a particular qubit may be defective. A “qubit” (quantum bit) is its fundamental unit of memory. A quantum computer can transform a classical memory state into a quantum state and back again. Confusingly, atoms are composed of electrons and other particles (has mass and structure – a position in space) but which may also act like waves (transportation of energy without mass – a disturbance from its equilibrium). A positively charged atom has electrons that travel in circular motion around the nucleus, although the common textbook representation of electrons orbiting around a nucleus has been called into question.

Although a qubit can be represented by 0s and 1s, it can be both at the same time, have multiple values, and is called a superposition, i.e., instead of a fixed numerical designation, in quantum mechanics the observations made are probabilities whose measurements made on qubits in identical states may result in different outcomes. Thus, two qubits existing as 1s and 0s can have four possible states but three qubits can have eight possible states and when the number of qubits increases, the mathematical equivalent states expand exponentially.[3] Three hundred qubits would add up to more than 2 novemvigintillion possible states, or 2,037,035,976,334,490,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. Needless to say, that number is nearly impossible to imagine.

Because of the transformation of one state to another, i.e., from particle (has a position in space) to wave (movement) and vice versa, the measurement thereof, as stated, is probabilistic rather than fixed. (Dirac, 1930) Although a photon (light particle) may be in different places at the same time, once an observer focuses on the photon it then is fixed in the perceived location. Thus, as one commentator noted, it is analogous to “alternative facts” in current political vogue whereby different observers may have differing interpretations of the same phenomena thus violating classical physics that is based on measurement and the ability to replicate and confirm theoretical findings of others. (Fedrizzi & Proietti, 2019)

Difficulties in Creating Practical Usage of Quantum Computing

Among the problems faced by scientists seeking to harness the potential of quantum computing is the difficulty of controlling it from its extreme fragility state and the noisy environment. Known as decoherence, it is the greatest roadblock to successful practical usage of quantum computing. Electronic devices are affected by radiation, light, sound, vibrations, heat, and magnetic fields. Their erratic and highly disordered motion, unless made coherent, would make quantum computing impossible. The attempt to control the erratic behavior is the subject of intense research that has led in part to Superconducting Quantum Interference Devices (SQUIDS), quantum photonics, spintronics, molecular coherent quantum electronics and other breakthroughs.[4]

Nevertheless, developments in quantum computing are occurring at an exponential pace. It is Moore’s Law in spades (named after Gordon Moore who observed over the past several decades that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles about every two years while the cost halves in the same time frame). Neven’s Law (quantum computer version of Moore’s Law), named after Hartmut Neven of the Quantum AI Lab), posits that quantum computers are doubly exponential compared to current computers or approximately a million times faster. Instead of exponential growth by powers of 2 (22) (see table 1), growth would be that of powers of powers of 2, or 22 (see table 2).

table 1

Table 1. Growth of computing power using Moore’s Law.

table 2

Table 2. Growth of quantum computing power using Neven’s Law.

According to Neven, it is due to the combination of two exponential factors: (1) a classical circuit, e.g., would require 16 ordinary bits if a quantum circuit has four qubits; (2) quantum processors are rapidly improving by the reduction of its error rate in the quantum circuits which has been the main cause of lack of adaptation. The goal is quantum supremacy whereby chips will improve so significantly that the most powerful supercomputers will pale in comparison. Data that can be carried by controlled photons would be virtually unlimited both in quantity and speed. (Hartnett, 2019)

Another way to look at Neven’s Law: if we had quantum computing in the late 1960s, we would have had the laptops we have today by 1975. (Rossi & Gonzalez-Zalba, 2019)

Photons

A photon is an elementary subatomic particle which acts as the force carrier for the electromagnetic force such as light and radio waves. It has zero mass and moves at the speed of light in a vacuum. It possesses both wave and particle properties. It can both be measured having a definite and finite position but also may have momentum as a wave but not both simultaneously.[5] Photons as light quanta or discreet quantity of energy can act as information carriers (qubits) and are the basis for quantum computing which greatly surpasses existing computer information technology.

The problem that previously made practical use is that photons do not interact with each other which thus has engendered much research to accomplish a waveform interaction to produce carrying results. (Harvard-Smithsonian Center For Astrophysics, 2017) Researchers Hannes Pichler, Zhenda Xie, and others have been able to entangle photons coupling pairs of photon particles using a quantum emitter to enable quantum information processing. (Pichler, Choi, Zoller, & Lukin, 2017) Entanglement is the interaction of two or more particles, albeit the particles may be a substantial distance from one another. There is a perfect correlation in the measurement of their physical properties. (Peres, 1993) They mirror comparable changes even though there is no apparent interaction between them. Scientists are unable to explain the manner in which this apparent contradiction to classical laws of physics phenomenon occurs but which enhances dramatically the computing power of qubits. Albert Einstein called it “spooky action at a distance.” (Lochhead & Dugan, 2019)

An alleged important development that has engendered much publicity and commentary both from the interest in quantum computing advancement and from a national security perspective, is the announcement by China’s Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology that it developed superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors which, if accurate, represents a significant breakthrough for quantum information technologies. (Press, 2017) A major problem of quantum computing technology is the need to maintain its use at near absolute zero temperatures. MIT researchers announced that they have been able to generate single photons for carrying quantum information at room temperature. It is accomplished by new single-photon quantum emitters. (Matheson, 2019)

Quantum Supremacy

The somewhat controversial term, quantum supremacy was termed by John Preskill, a leading theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology, as he stated: “to describe the point where quantum computers can do things that classical computers can’t regardless of whether those tasks are useful.” (Preskill, 2019a) The designation is controversial because it calls to mind the offensive expression “white supremacy” and, in addition, that quantum computing has already achieved that status over classical computing. Thus, a group of 16 scientists at Oxford and Cambridge universities complained the expression evokes racists’ and colonialists’ idea which term should be replaced by “quantum advantage.” Others complained that this objection is that of the thought police currently in vogue. (Furedi, 2019) By its integration of information technology and quantum mechanics, so-called intractable computational tasks are now able to be accomplished which cannot be performed by classical computers. The goal is to create a quantum device that combines a large number of qubits with low error rates to thus achieve supremacy over existing classical computers. (Boixo & Neill, 2018) Preskill earlier alleged that controlling large-scale quantum systems would be either really hard, or ridiculously hard but concluded that the Google achievement discussed below has proven that quantum supremacy is achievable but would entail arduous work. (Preskill, 2019b)

Google’s Breakthrough and Quantum Supremacy

Enormous sums are currently being expended to harness to capabilities of quantum computing. The announcement of a Status Report from the NASA Ames Research Center, and almost immediately withdrawn likely due to the inadvertent disclosure of confidential quantum computing advancements, stated that Google researchers, led by the noted scientist, John Martinis, had achieved quantum supremacy.” (Rieffel, 2019) The Report indicated that the scientists were faced with the dual challenges of creating a quantum system engineered to perform a computation in a large enough computational space with low enough errors to provide a quantum speedup and whether the quantum computer can solve problems that are very difficult for classical computers but easy for a quantum computer. The Report stated that they were able to demonstrate an immediate computational capability that would enhance optimization in quantum computing. It further alleged that, although quantum computing requires further technical leaps to engineer fault-tolerant qubits, nevertheless, it was able to achieve technical advances to demonstrate quantum supremacy over state-of-the-art classical computers. It performed quantum circuit sampling in polynomial time with a quantum processor with low error rates which no known classical computer could achieve. (Rieffel, 2019)

The probabilistic aspect of quantum theory was minimized by improved two-qubit gates by the use of a new type of control that is able to turn off interactions between neighboring gates.

The said John Martinis, whose title is that of chief scientist quantum hardware, and Sergio Boixo, chief scientist quantum computing theory, published a Blog of their claimed quantum supremacy breakthrough in which they discussed how their experiment was performed. The probabilistic aspect of quantum theory was minimized by improved two-qubit gates by the use of a new type of control that is able to turn off interactions between neighboring gates. They expanded the test to demonstrate that quantum mechanics works by the expansion of the state-space dimension to a size of 10 quadrillion. The authors stated that its Sycamore quantum computer is full programmable and would be able to run general-purpose algorithms. They expressed their intent to expand applications by making their “supremacy-class processors” available to academics and companies. Suggested future applications include the design of new materials such as lightweight batteries for automobiles and airplanes, more effective medicines, and more efficient fertilizers to reduce their sizeable carbon imprint. (Martinis & Boixo, 2019)

The announcement created shock waves throughout the globe. A potential result from such supremacy is the now questionable unhackability of blockchain. Accomplished in conjunction with the U.S. federal agency NASA, it was alleged that its quantum processor, “Sycamore,” which contains 54 superconducting qubits (actually 53; one did not work), is able to accomplish calculations at a speed of 3 minutes, 20 seconds what it would take Summit, the world’s best supercomputer some 10,000 years to accomplish. Rather than working on massive amounts of data sequentially, it could do so in a parallel manner. (Martinis & Boixo, 2019) Microsoft’s Matthias Troyer, responding to a question posed before the Google announcement at a panel discussion that included IBM’s Pat Gumann and Google’s John Martinis, stated that once a computer can be built with just over 2,000 qubits, the unhackability of Bitcoin will be overcome. (Perry, 2018)

Is the accomplishment one in a line of immense breakthrough or of limited initial steps is disputed among researchers? Almost all observers caution that even if the achievement has truly occurred, nevertheless, its translation into the marketplace will require years of further research and experimentation. Google had entered into a partnership agreement with NASA executed on June 19, 2018 by NASA and by Hartmut Neven on behalf of Google on July 3, 2018, entitled “Nonreimbursable Space Act Agreement Between The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Ames Research Center and Google LLC to Analyze the Utilization and Assessment of Google’s Emerging Quantum Processors.” (NASA, 2018) The purpose of the agreement is for the parties to explore the utilization of the gate-based quantum processors that Google is building. The use of gate-based quantum processors is for the support of general as distinguished from special purpose quantum processors to enable the exploration of new approaches to solve complex computing challenges that are beyond the capabilities of current applications. (NASA, 2018)

IBM Rebuttal

IBM, which also has developed a 53-qubit quantum computer, is a naysayer against the claim of quantum supremacy. Dario Gill, Director of the IBM Research facility in Yorktown, New York, stated that the implementation of one very specific quantum sampling procedure with no practical applications is not a significant breakthrough of quantum computing. (Cho, 2019) He further declared: We argue that an ideal simulation of the same task can be performed on a classical system in 2.5 days and with far greater fidelity. This is in fact a conservative, worst-case estimate, and we expect that with additional refinements the classical cost of the simulation can be further reduced.” The authors suggest that new and better classical computing software can enhance the development of quantum computing. Gill intimates that classical computers will work in concert with quantum computers and not replace them. (Pednault, Gunnels, Maslov, & Gambetta, 2019)

Other cautionary and more realistic remarks suggest that the development is a “proof-of-concept” which offer potential extraordinary benefits especially in the fields of machine learning, materials science, and chemistry. (Whyte, 2019) Quantum computers are very delicate subject to the slightest disruptions of minute change in temperature, (“noise”), last only fractions of a second, and are prone to errors because of qubit particle-wave transitory states. Others commentators fear that quantum supremacy and its potential capability of cracking the most secure encryption codes pose significant dangers particularly to cryptocurrencies and blockchain that are reliant on maintenance of totally secure communications. (Aten, 2019) Yet another scientist posits the view that quantum computing is a fad that will implode because we will never be able “to control the more than 10300 continuously variable parameters defining the quantum state of such a system.” (Dyakonov, 2018) It appears that although the announced Google breakthrough is significant as the first step in a long progressive advancement just as the first airplane flight at Kitty Hawk, almost all commentators agree that the use of quantum computers for practical applications is years away. (Giles, 2019)

Quantum Superdense Coding

Superdense coding is analogous to a main purpose of blockchain which is to maintain secrecy from outside third parties to communications. The protocol, first proposed by C. Bennett and S. Wiesner in 1992 and later experimentally achieved four years later by Mattle, Weinfurter, Kwiat, and Zeilenger, enables the sending of two classical bits of information secretly from one party to another through the receiver of the communication by the use of entangled photon pairs by performing one of four quantum single qubit gate operations. The sender or a third party sends one qubit of the entangled photon to one party and the other to the receiver who is then able to apply a certain quantum gate to her qubit to decode the message. (Atkin, 2018)

Uses of Quantum Computing

Like AI, quantum computing has comparable uses except at an almost incalculable greater speed. Almost every field of social and business endeavor will be affected. With immense data presented that previously took days to digest, then sped forward with AI, commentators in diverse disciplines of quantum computing suggest banking, accounting, medicine, law, travel, et al, will experience significant advances. Cities will become “smart” with advances in traffic regulation, energy output, electronic vehicles, and new machine learning processes. Whereas the great value of blockchain usage was that it was un-hackable, the new technology with advanced algorithms that power output millions of times beyond todays’ computers poses a major threat to blockchain adaptation. Attorneys reliant on “smart contracts” will no longer have the confidence that currently underlies their applications.

The perennial problem will be the ability of individuals to learn the disciplines required to utilize the technological advances. Thus, the need arises for properly trained personnel who can understand, update almost daily, and apply the technology to the almost infinite uses required in the workplace. Individuals at the lower end of the educational spectrum will continue to downslide with robots, driverless vehicles, and other cheaper alternatives replacing the need for human output. 

Major Entities Exploring Quantum Computing

Among the corporations and entities profoundly engaged in quantum computing research and development, in addition to the cited Google, IBM, and Microsoft, are: Alibaba, in conjunction with the Chinese Academy of Sciences offers a cloud quantum service; Baidu’s Quantum Computing offering quantum information theory and computation; Honeywell’s “trapped ion” (charged atomic particles confined and suspended in free space using electromagnetic fields within a quantum computer) (Nielsen & Chuang, 2010); Intel’s foray into providing methods to validate wafers and method to validate qubits’ performance; and Raytheon whose BBN Technologies unit is applying quantum computing to imaging. (CB Insights, 2019) A smaller entity that has engendered much interest is Rigetti Computing in California which makes superconducting electronics and which is poised to make useful applications of quantum computing by the launch of its new cloud platform, Forest, whereby developers can write code for simulated quantum computers and support programs utilizing a quantum processor as an adjunct to conventional software rather than a total replacement thereof. (Simonite, 2017)

China’s Advancements in Quantum Computing

Second only to U.S. advances in quantum computing is the People’s Republic of China (China) which represents both a competitive threat to U.S. and European firms and also raises security fears in Western government. In a November, 2019 Interim Report of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, whose chairman is Eric Schmidt of Google, it noted the challenge posed by China has overseen a 30 times increase in research and development from 1991 to 2015 and is projected to overtake the U.S. in 10 years. (National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, 2019) It has repeatedly excelled in many areas of the new technologies from academic publications to some of the largest global firms (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, iFlytek, and Sensetime), to its erosion of the civilian and military relevant research and development (R&D) and global talent. Many of the scientists were trained in the U.S. thereby allowing major advancements in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programs, and innovative research.

China's quantum supremacy

Among China’s recent advances that have caught the attention of U.S. political and civilian leadership was the announcement by the China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC) that its development of quantum radar would be able either currently or in the near future to make stealth aircraft obsolete. It alleged it tested radar at 60-mile range although some observers believe that owing to secrecy, the actual effective range of its quantum radar is much greater. Allegedly, it was able to overcome decoherence of photons by its single-photon detectors. (Majumdar, 2019)

A relatively new area for quantum computing is the offering of computer service in the cloud. Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., of Shenzhen, Guangdong, China, is especially aggressive in quantum computing developments with its release of a cloud service platform for quantum computing simulation and advances in the integration of a quantum error correction with the platform. The service can provide both full and single-amplitude simulations with at least 42-qubits of full-amplitude simulations and at least 81-qubits for full single amplitudes. It claims it can achieve up to 169 qubits for single-amplitude simulations. The platform will be open to the public for its use. (Huawei, 2018) Similarly, CAS-Alibaba Quantum Computing Lab is also heavily invested in a Quantum Computing Cloud powered by a quantum processor that includes 11 superconducting qubits whose chip works at extreme low temperatures. (Black, 2018)

China’s Current Artificial Intelligence (AI) Initiative

China is projected to invest some $1.6 trillion in AI and AI-related industries by the year 2030. It accounts for over half of all AI global expenditures for the past five years and expects to increase its AI investment tenfold in the next three years. (Burrows, 2018) Presumably, the R&D expenditures will also include substantial investments in quantum computing. China’s State Council announced and released it’s a New Generation of Artificial Development Plan AI which was completed and released in July, 2017. (Burrows, 2018) The Plan is divided into several sections. It begins with a comment that AI will profoundly change human society and life and change the world. Thus, the mission of the Plan is “to seize the major strategic opportunity for the development of AI, to build China’s first-mover advantage in the development of AI, to accelerate the construction of an innovative nation and global power in science and technology.”

The Plan began with an analysis of The Strategic Situation in which it noted that the development of AI has reached a new stage especially mobile Internet, big data, supercomputing, sensor networks, brain science, and other new theories and technologies. It has accelerated deep learning, cross-domain integration, man-machine collaboration, the opening of swarm intelligence, (Beni & Wang, 1993) and autonomous control.

AI, as the focus of international competition, requires China to seize the initiative in AI in order to enhance national security and attain social and economic benefits for its citizens. As a disruptive technology, AI may cause the transformation of employment structures, impact legal and social theories, violate privacy rights, and other areas in China. It already leads globally in the publication of scientific papers on AI, in the number of inventions have been patented, in voice recognition and in visual recognition technologies, in adaptive autonomous learning, intuitive sensing, and other related areas. Nevertheless, China recognizes its shortcomings in basic theory, core algorithms, key equipment, high-end chips, and several other areas.

As a disruptive technology, AI may cause the transformation of employment structures, impact legal and social theories, violate privacy rights, and other areas in China.

The Plan then stated The Overall Requirements which is divided into a discussion of the guiding ideology, basic principles, strategic objectives, and overall deployment. Its guiding ideology is the implementation of the policies set forth at the 18th Party Congress, its Plenary Sessions, and the leadership of General Secretary Xi Jinping that stresses the implementation of innovation-driven development strategy to accelerate the deep integration of AI with the economy, society, and national defense. The Basic Principles stresses the technology-led global development trend of AI, the ability of its communist ideology to concentrate forces to do major undertakings, promote planning and layout of projects, and a talent pool able to carry out the principles. It seeks to be market-dominant, be open-source, and open to industry, academia, research and production units. For strategic objectives, AI development is to take place in three steps:

  • By 2020, China will be in step with other major global players whereby AI will become an important engine for economic growth by making extensive progress in big data- cross-medium-, swarm-, hybrid enhanced-, and autonomous- intelligence. It also will have achieved important progress in other foundational theories and core technologies as well as advances in AI models and methods, core devices, high-end equipment, and foundational software. It will have achieved first echelon status, nurtured industries to invest 1 trillion RMB (approximately $144.7 billion, €113 billion);
  • By 2025, China expects breakthroughs in AI theory and technology systems whereby AI industries will enter into a global high-value chain and widely used in intelligent manufacturing, medicine, city, and agriculture, national defense construction, and establish laws and regulations addressing ethical norms and policy systems, and formation of AI security assessment and control capabilities;
  • By 2030, AI applications will have made China the world’s leading AI innovation center with significant results in an intelligent economy and intelligent society applications. Major breakthroughs in each of the areas discussed in 2020 will have taken place and allowing AI to be deeply expansive in the economy and expensive core technology for key systems, support platforms, and intelligent application of a complete industrial chain and high-end clusters. The scale of AI industries will exceed 10 trillion RMB ($1.44 trillion). China will possess world-leading AI technology innovation and personnel training centers and will have comprehensive laws and regulations coupled with ethical norms and policy systems.

The overall deployment of AI will be accomplished by the construction of an open and cooperative AI technology innovation system; grasp AI’s characteristic high degree of integration of technological attributes and social attributes; adherence to the promotion of the trinity of breakthroughs in AI research and development, product applications, and fostering industry development; and full support science and technology, the economy, social development, and national security. (Beni & Wang, 1993) (Rosenberg & Wilcox, 2019) (Metcalf, Askay, & Rosenberg, 2019) (Schumann, Willcox, Rosenberg, & Pescetelli, 2019)

Other international efforts being undertaken include the European Union’s 2016, Quantum Manifesto, which was launched in 2018 with an investment of $1.1 billion over ten years in basic quantum information science (QIS) through its Quantum Technologies Flagship; Canada’s Perimeter Institute and University of Waterloo’s QIS R&D; the United Kingdom’s 5-year $440 million National Quantum Technologies Program; and many other global efforts. (Figliola, 2018)

Quantum Computing, Big Data, Blockchains, & Artificial Intelligence

Quantum computing is expected to greatly enhance AI going forward and poses threats to blockchain in the foreseeable future. As one author stated, the deluge of data that has arisen with the boon in digital technologies (about 2.5 exabytes daily), the need for hardware to support it increases exponentially which only quantum computing will be able to muster efficiently. Although a single-chip computer may contain 2 billion transistors, nevertheless, the need for greater speed for data analytics will require a transition from the current technologies to the evolving quantum computing and any additional futuristic development.[2]

AI technologies will benefit greatly from big data analytics, predictive analytics, and machine learning. The vast quanta of data will have an almost infinite effect upon almost all forms of human endeavor. For example, in marketing, predictive analytics can ascertain a greater and greater understanding of human motivations and needs geared to specific individuals such as disbursement of programs in different regions and different climatic influences. The vast complexity of individuals and groups require big data analyses that are quickly exceeding the current capabilities of existing technologies. (Reavie, 2018) CEOs will require access to big data which refers to access anywhere, access anytime, and access anybody. (Martin, 2017)

Also on the horizon is quantum machine learning combined with quantum neurons will vastly improve the manipulation of large matrices and large vectors exponentially faster than classical computers. (Musser, 2018) The advantage is that, whereby a classical computer processes individual data units one by one, a quantum computer would be able to process, e.g., using a state of four qubits, 16 numbers at a time. 60 qubits could encode data equivalent to all of the data accumulated by humans annually. A quantum processor of 2,000 qubits has been manufactured by D-Wave Systems of British Columbia whereby each of the qubits acts in a superposition wired together and interacting magnetically. The system is still in development with scientists attempting to ascertain how to put classical data into and out of a quantum state. With the exponential growth in understanding of the latest technologies, it is highly likely that early-stage difficulties will be resolved in the near future. (Musser, 2018) D-Wave technology is already in a test mode with Volkswagen pairing the technology to successfully test improvements of Beijing traffic patterns.  

Regulation of Quantum Computing: The National Quantum Initiative Act of 2018

As in all advances in technology, regulation slowly and inevitably follows after Congressional hearings which highlight both the wonders but also the perceived abuses and the need to reign in actual and possible harmful consequences of the new innovation. Coupled with major advances by China in AI and competitive pressures in general, the oft-deeply politically divided Congress was able to agree almost unanimously in the House of Representatives and unanimously in the Senate with the need to promote the acceleration of quantum computing advances. Thus, the President signed into law the National Quantum Initiative Act on December 21, 2018. (National Quantum Initiative Act, 2018) Among the purposes of the Act is the support of R&D, demonstration, and application of quantum information science and technology; interagency cooperation and coordination; promotion of federal government’s efforts in research and collaboration with industry and universities; education and training through Multidisciplinary Centers for Quantum Research and Education; and advancement of the development of international standards. (Seth & Brummel, 2019)

Coupled with major advances by China in AI and competitive pressures in general, the oft-deeply politically divided Congress was able to agree almost unanimously in the House of Representatives and unanimously in the Senate with the need to promote the acceleration of quantum computing advances.

The Act, with funding of some $1.3 billion over a ten-year time frame, provides for the implementation of a National Initiative Program to accomplish the said goals through a newly created National Quantum Coordination Office headed by the Director of the Office of Science and Technology in consultation with the Director of the National Science Foundation and the Secretary of Energy. A subcommittee of Quantum Information Science of multiple organizations and agencies is mandated to coordinate research, establish goals and priorities, assess and recommend federal infrastructure, assess workforce in the discipline, and evaluate opportunities for international cooperation. A National Quantum Initiative Advisory Committee is to advise the President of trends and developments, management and implementation, and whether the goals and activities are maintaining U.S. leadership in quantum information and technology. Remaining titles of the Act call for reports by the National Institute of Standards and Technology assessing needs, gaps, and recommendations; and the National Science Foundation concerning information theory, physics, computational science, applied mathematics, networking, sensing and detection, and materials science and technology. (Martin, 2017)

White House Initiatives

In 2018, the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) commenced a subcommittee national strategic program for Quantum Information Science (QIS) to secure and maintain U.S. leadership in the latest technological emanation. (National Science and Technology Council, 2018) The program sets forth to address the latest technological present and forthcoming issues are as follows:

  • Focus on a science-first approach that aims to identify and solve Grand Challenges: problems whose solutions enable transformative scientific and industrial progress. The initiative seeks to do so by strengthening federally-funded R&D programs from the issuance of grants to researchers; cross-discipline dialogue particularly within the scientific community; establish a formal coordination body such as NSTC; and focus on the major challenges and prioritize investments to address the challenges;
  • Build a quantum-smart and diverse workforce to meet the needs of a growing field. The program includes encouragement of industry and academia to create convergent trans-sector approaches for workforce development; increase the size of QIS-ready workforce; encourage academia to foster quantum science and engineering and address early stages of such learning beginning at the elementary level and continuing at all levels of education; reach out to the community for investments in quantum science; and track and estimate the future workforce needs of the quantum industry;
  • Deepen quantum industry engagement, providing appropriate mechanisms for public-private partnerships. Suggestions include the formation of a U.S. quantum Consortium with participants from academia, government, and industry to coordinate efforts to address needs and roadblocks to quantum development include ng addressing issues such as intellectual property, and the need to streamline technology-transfer mechanisms; increase investment in joint technology research centers by partnerships among industry, government, and academia; and maintain awareness of the forthcoming quantum revolution and how it may affect agencies within the U.S. government;
  • Provide critical infrastructure and support needed to realize the scientific and technological opportunities. Suggestions include the identification of critically needed infrastructure and encourage investment among all stakeholders; encourage government agencies to provide QIS research community with increased access to existing and future facilities and support technologies; establish end-user testbed facilities for training and engagement; explore relevant applications to quantum computing missions by federal agencies and stakeholders; and leverage existing infrastructure, including manufacturing facilities for repurposing and expansion to advance quantum technology development;
  • Drive economic growth and maintain national security by promoting understanding and mechanisms for understanding national security concerns and stay current with defense and security implications of QIS technologies; and ensure consistent applications among U.S, universities and industry relating to QIS research; and
  • Continue to develop international collaboration and cooperation with like-minded industry and government partners; ensure the U.S. continues to attract and retain the best talent in QIS research and development; and identify strengths and focus areas as well as gaps and opportunities with international parties for a better understanding of the QIS landscape.
  • The key next step will be to develop agency-level plans that address the identified approaches and policy opportunities in the next section, which will be integrated into an overall strategic plan. This will enable new opportunities on a ten-year horizon, possibly including: the development. (National Science and Technology Council, 2018)

The ten-year goal to create a quantum-smart workforce for the foreseeable future aims in part on the education of students commencing in elementary school to make them knowledgeable of QIS. The Department of Energy is funding $218 million for 85 QIS projects spread among 28 higher learning institutions and nine Department of Energy labs. (Nott, 2018) The National Science Foundation is mandated to build up to five institutes to train people in quantum computing. It incorporates the vision of the physicist Chris Monroe and others who want and intend by the year 2050 for a high school student to be able to use the technology as easily as the use of Snapchat. Currently, there is a significant shortage of quantum computer scientists which is retarding U.S. advancements in the field. (Chen, 2018) 

Quantum Computing and Future Disruption

Quantum computing will disrupt the existing landscape of how business is conducted and will have untold major consequences on a personal level. The transition to blockchain and artificial intelligence as a means of securing data from intrusion has been an ongoing pursuit in almost every area of human endeavor including investments, banking, accounting, government, etc. The problem is that quantum computing would disrupt the said existing technologies by possibly overcoming the inability to hack blockchain’s “unhackable” private keys. Artificial intelligence, rather than being replaced, will be enhanced to an exponential degree causing speculative theoretical assumptions of undetectable a much longer lifespan because of its ability to slow the aging of cells, detect previously cancers and other organ malfunctions, and a myriad of other advances in almost every profession.

quantum computing

Major financial centers are already investing substantial sums in the technology that some commentators allege cannot be controlled. Thus, the largest U.S. bank, JP Morgan Chase, and the German automaker Daimler AG are investing in quantum experimentation by their and other companies utilizing IBM quantum processors to understand how to enhance their operations. For example, Daimler is interested in battery improvement by using IBM prototypes to stimulate chemical structures and reactions therein. (Simonite, 2018) Banking will be transformed by the ability to utilize quantum cryptography by means of quantum key distribution whereby an encrypted message and its keys are transmitted separately resulting in the destruction of the encrypted message if hacking is attempted and notification sent to sender and receiver. Advantages are transmission of data 100,000 times faster than current speed of transmission. Cryptocurrencies may be enhanced or replaced by quantum money because they would be unclonable and unreproducible. (Skinner, 2018) 

Quantum Computing and the Legal Profession

Major perceived threats to the legal profession have arisen in the technological advances brought about by blockchain and artificial intelligence. With the ability of blockchain to permanently record online transactions accomplished privately between parties; the advent and usage of “smart contracts;” the enormous enhancement of data integration, accumulation, and analyses, e.g., with the elimination of hundreds of attorneys and work hours in mergers and acquisitions due diligence preparations, and many other usages, perceived threats to the professions; have caused a rethinking of how the profession will need to be re-oriented. The looming of quantum computing greatly enhances the question of how the technology will revolutionize the manner in which the profession is conducted and how the law school curriculum must incorporate technology as a major addition to course requirements and described by one author as “Computational Law.” (Zent, 2018)

Conclusion

Quantum computing is the latest evolution in technological development which will bring about major changes to almost all segments of society. It is the latest in the oft-used but truly applicable word “revolution” because it is potentially immensely disruptive by radically altering our concepts of the physical world; its effect on so-called un-hackable devices and uses such as blockchain and other security mechanisms; innumerable jobs will both cease but (hopefully) replaced by an equal or greater number of new jobs; the requirement of STEM education commencing as early as elementary school; security and how armed conflicts are conducted; the great advances in medical science and prolongation of life-span; and innumerable other alterations of human activity. Like almost all other technological advances there are inherent risks as well as breathtaking opportunities for the benefit of humankind. No one can predict with certainty whether blockchain, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and futuristic occurrences will ultimately benefit humankind. Nevertheless, at least for these authors, the study of the exponential technological growth is endlessly fascinating and a glimpse of what the near future will entail.

About the Authors

Rosario (Roy) Girasa

Rosario (Roy) Girasa is Distinguished Professor of Pace University and has been a professor of law in the Lubin School of Business on the Pleasantville, NY campus since 1980. He holds four degrees: a BS and PhD from Fordham University, an MLA from Johns Hopkins University, and a JD from New York University School of Law.

He formerly was a practicing attorney engaged in trial work in New York City since 1962 and was admitted to the New York State bar and of the US Supreme Court. He served as a captain in the US Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps from 1962-1966, and has served as counsel to the New York State Senate and the New York City Council.

Girasa is the author of six published texts and more than 130 articles. His books include the textbook and manual “Cyberlaw: National and International Perspectives”; “Corporate Governance and the Law of Finance”; “Laws and Regulations in Global Financial Markets”; “Shadow Banking: Rise, Risks, and Rewards of Non-Banking Financial Services”; and “Regulation of Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Technologies” (published July 2018). His latest book “Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a Disruptive Technology: Economic Transformation and Government Regulation” published February, 2020.

He has delivered lectures globally, including as president of four annual conferences in Tunisia, a number of colleges in India, and at the Supreme Court of India. Girasa gave MBA seminars at the University of Shanghai Finance and Economics and at four annual seminars in Stralsund, Germany.

Emilio Collar

Emilio Collar is a Professor of Management Information Systems in the Ancell School of Business at Western CT State University in Danbury, CT. He holds a BBA and MS in Information systems from Pace University (NY) and a PhD from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is a KPMG Doctor Scholar and a member of Beta Gamma Sigma.

Prior to his Ph.D., Emilio has had various jobs and consulting engagements in large Corporations including General Reinsurance Corp. and IBM. As an independent consultant, Emilio has provided consulting services on software implementation of Oracle databases, Internet website development, e-Commerce applications and Internet security and planning. Emilio was also a technology consultant for the IBM Information Technology implementation at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympic Games and 2000 Sydney Summer Olympic Games. He analyzed and documented the Information Technology deployment identifying the processes required for the operations deployment of the software applications.

Emilio co-founded an organization called The International Group of E-business Research and Applications (TIGERA) and served as Vice President from 2006 to 2011, which provided a forum for scholars, professionals, students, and Government representatives to present their latest findings in e-Learning, e-Business, and e-Government research, applications and the underlying technologies.

Emilio has served as editing manager for the Journal of Computing and e-Systems, track chair for multiple topics at TIGERA, and either as a guest or invited reviewer for various academic journals. He has published papers in academic journals including Cybernetics and Informatics, International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security, International Journal of Management Science and Business Administration, Journal of Management and Business Research, Journal of Systemics, and Review of Contemporary Business Research.

References 

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