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TheOfficialACM29 karma

Great question! Almost everyone asks about cryptanalysis. But we (Simson Garfinkel) and I think the real action is in quantum sensing and simulation and wish more questions were raised about those categories of quantum technologies (QTs). Sensing and simulation are both more difficult to understand, but plumbing them reveals all sorts of interesting implications. The more prosaic implications surround civil liberties: what will it mean when sensing only available to militaries, intelligence agencies, and sophisticated companies (like extraction industry) devolve to law enforcement uses? This could trigger a fundamental rethink of observation in "public."

The implications of simulation are far more exciting than codebreaking. There's a nice consensus statement about the field here: https://arxiv.org/abs/1912.06938 I suspect the general excitement and familiarity about computing causes us not to see wet-sciences innovations that could change our lives.

TheOfficialACM28 karma

Just how inadvertent is this summons? Is this an intentional act, or an accident? How foreseeable is the link between your QC use and Cthulhu's rise?

I suspect that you will not be held responsible because you have several good defenses: a lack of foreseeability, you shouldn't be responsible for the intentional wrongs of a monster, and because this sounds like an act of god :)

Are you a fan of RTL? I wish I could have afforded to go to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOvA1MtOKFg

TheOfficialACM12 karma

We use the analogy of the GPU to explain quantum computing (QC)---QCs will be special purpose devices for special computations. Our regular computers will do most of what we need to do nicely :) From a TRL perspective, QC looks like an industrial technology.

Miniaturization depends on QC having a breakthrough similar to the development of the transistor. Right now, QC is in a pre-transistor phase where different competitors are using different substrates to achieve quantum effects. It's something like the relay/tube era.

Miniaturization is one reason why we argue the real near-term promise is in quantum sensing. There are room-temperature quantum sensors out there, and just removing the cooling requirements makes the technology smaller and easier to use close to people.

TheOfficialACM11 karma

What do you think policymakers should know about QC?

TheOfficialACM10 karma

At Berkeley, I am one of the bridges between pure social science like law and the computing world. I'm dually appointed in the law and information schools and teach python programming to lawyers. Technology is just a skill that people pick up, like everything else, tech literacy requires experimentation and some faking it.

Writing this book was a tremendous challenge because I do not have a STEM background and Simson Garfinkel's PhD is in computer science (MIT).

Interestingly, the initial reviewers hated the pure science portions of the book, said it was in essence a physics textbook, and so we moved that material to the appendixes. Almost everyone who read it wanted a functional explanation of the technology instead of a scientific one.

I do think one public service we performed was to surface high quality translation pieces. This one on quantum simulation is great: https://arxiv.org/abs/1912.06938 And on quantum computing, the Academies report from 2019 is objective and a nice alternative to the hype: https://nap.nationalacademies.org/catalog/25196/quantum-computing-progress-and-prospects