Exponential Impact of Quantum in the Digital Era

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quantum computing circuit board

Global Landscape

The global Quantum Computing market is expected to reach $2.82B by 2024, to grow at a CAGR of 24.9% and a recent Harvard Business Review Article highlighted that we need to be ready for a “Quantum Revolution”. Current leading industries are defense, banking and finance, energy and power, space, healthcare and pharmaceuticals. We are witnessing major investments in research by several large corporations, a pursuit of deploying quantum computing as a B2B solution and there are consistent signs of advances in the manufacturing technology, as well as in bending the cost curve.

It is interesting to note the macroeconomic factors that influence the quantum computing industry, a variety of novel market entry strategies and how several companies have gained a remarkable competitive advantage in the race towards achieving“ Quantum Supremacy”.

Quantum Computing has been identified as one of the emerging technologies with highest transformative power, equivalent to the impact that electricity or the internet had on the global economy and society. One way to illustrate the extraordinary potential impact is to highlight how Quantum Computing can influence several of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set forth by the United Nations. As highlighted by the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Quantum Computing experts believe that the development of quantum computing will follow Amara’s Law which highlights that human expectations tend to overestimate technology impact  short term and underestimate it for long term.

Drivers of Success

The combined effects of several emerging technologies can have an exponential impact on the large-scale adoption of quantum. Forming global alliances with participation from all key stakeholders can ensure a more rapid pace of innovation, interoperability, development of universal standards and implementation frameworks and therefore a higher chance of positively affecting the socio-economic landscape.

The synergistic effect of advancements in quantum simulation methods, as well as functional optimization and sampling mechanisms can further accelerate the development of a sustainable quantum computing infrastructure.

Impact on SDGs

Experts believe that Quantum Computing will have a major impact on the fintech industries, By enhancing financial inclusion and access to financial tools at large scale and at much higher speeds than ever before, quantum can positively impact poverty, access to quality education and , decent work and overall economic growth.

Quantum computers can also enhance electric grids by making them more efficient and less energy consuming. Novel clean energy sources could be identified and accelerate the achievement of SDG 7: to offer affordable and clean energy.

Through advanced computational power and novel algorithms which are not possible with classical computing, it is also expected that quantum computing will redefine the life-sciences and healthcare industries, particularly in the research and development domain. By contributing to the development of new treatments, new medications or new diagnostic methods quantum can therefore have an overall positive impact on the health and wellbeing of the global population.

The combined deployment of blockchain, artificial intelligence,5G networks and quantum computational power can augment current efforts of building sustainable cities and communities.

By changing the current macro-economic forces in defense, commerce,  and finance one could extrapolate that if deployed mindfully quantum computing can be a catalyst for the creation of powerful alliances or networks such as the IBM Q Network and the WEF Global Alliance that will continue to optimize infrastructure globally and accelerate the achievement of SDGs.

Barriers to Adoption

Companies that are dedicated to developing functional quantum computers face a major strategic decision: focus on designing a quantum internet or novel quantum software. There are major efforts underway within the scientific and business community to build a universal large fault tolerant quantum computer, while others focus on a smaller but noisy design with each of them having their advantages and disadvantages.

The top barriers identified are the ability to manage quantum systems due to qubit fragility, need for subzero temperatures, high noise and residual error rates. A variety of technologies are being tried in an attempt to resolve these challenges such as superconductors, annealers, ion traps, topological qubits, cold atoms, quantum dots, and photonics.

Additionally, like with all emerging technologies we need to ensure responsible ethical design and deployment of quantum computers.

Future Directions

Advances in material sciences industry, nanotechnology and photonics can change the trajectory of quantum innovation at any time. Further optimization and leveraging of ledger technologies and cryptography can cause an acceleration of quantum computing security features. The advent of 5G and soon 6G networks could potentially facilitate large scale adoption. Lastly neuro-morphic-, DNA-, optical- and distributed computing can act harmoniously and galvanize the quantum computing industry.

Numerous governments, private investors and the global scientific community have realized the need and potential for creating dedicated quantum research institutes. This trend of collaboration is an imperative for success and can greatly impact the digital economy and directly or indirectly almost all SDGs.

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