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article imageU.S. sees quantum computing and AI as 'emerging threats'

By Tim Sandle     Dec 15, 2018 in Technology
Several of the bodies that make up the U.S. security network, when polled, indicated they see quantum computing an artificial intelligence as potential security threats, especially in the near-term.
The U.S. government may be planning for a quantum computing workforce (the government passed a bill to foster an active quantum computing industry in September 2018), yet this hasn't prevented the security community from regarding quantum computing being seen as an 'emerging threat' together with certain forms of artificial intelligence.
The study was commissioned by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, in a white paper titled "Long-Range Emerging Threats Facing the United States As Identified by Federal Agencies."
Here Federal agencies identified 26 long-term threats within four categories, which were:
Adversaries' Political and Military Advancements—e.g., China's increasing ability to match the U.S. military's strength.
Dual-Use Technologies—e.g., self-driving cars might be developed for private use, but militaries can use them too.
Weapons—advances in weapons technology, e.g., cyberweapons.
Events and Demographic Changes—e.g., infectious disease outbreaks.
Within this, the future of “dual-use technologies” took center stage, according to TechCrunch.
The security agencies expressed fear that continued advances with quantum computing and artificial intelligence could be used to cause harm, rather than advance society. Certainly quantum computing continues to advance. This year, for instance, computer technologists set a new speed record for the trapped-ion 'building blocks' (or logic gates) of future-generation quantum computers. The same stands with AI, where studies are underway to assess the extent that AI can understand what it is like to be human.
A concern drawn from the report is where “adversaries could gain increased access to AI through affordable designs used in the commercial industry, and could apply AI to areas such as weapons and technology,” and that “quantum communications could enable adversaries to develop secure communications that U.S. personnel would not be able to intercept or decrypt.” Centered on this is the deployment by terror groups or rogue states of sophisticated technologies in the future, directed against the U.S.
As an example of the potential threat posed by quantum computing, researchers from the Russian Quantum Center in Moscow have gone on record to state that cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology will be vulnerable in the future from quantum systems unless these applications themselves integrate quantum technologies.
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