Five — or Six — industries that will feel the impact of quantum computing’s first wave of disruption

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Impact of quantum computing

Like the first small waves that lap onto the shore before a tsunami, the tide of quantum computing is beginning to roll in and experts are already predicting which industries will take the initial impact of this revolution, whether that will be decades, years — or months.

Here are some industries that will probably be the first to feel the onrushing waves of quantum change.

Medicine

The blood of the medical industry is now data. Information is already driving the creation of new drugs, promoting personalized medical treatments, and uncovering cures for wicked diseases and conditions. Quantum computing promises to manage that data far more efficiently and swiftly. 

Futurist Peter Diamandis is one of the more optimistic of quantum computing’s potential in this area: “Soon we’ll be able to model all 20,000+ proteins encoded in the human genome and start to simulate their interactions with models of existing drugs, or new drugs that haven’t been invented yet. Based on the analysis of these drug interactions, we’ll be able to find cures for previously incurable diseases and hopefully accelerate the time to market for new drugs. Using quantum computer simulations will be the way we design and choose our next generations of drugs and cancer cures.”

Artificial Intelligence

 

Alex Moltzau, who writes for Towards Data Science on Medium already sees the change that quantum computing is making in the field of Artificial Intelligence and the main driver of that change is Google. The ability to process large amounts of data makes quantum information processing a natural partner in machine learning.

 

Moltzau says, “As such we could perhaps see some connections to the field of artificial intelligence. Processing information is important for a lot of companies and quantum mechanics which led to the semiconductor was the advent for computing as we know it today.”

 

Cryptography

Quantum computers have the power to break most of the current cryptographic methods used to secure out data. On the other hand, quantum processing may lead to new ways to secure data. This could lead to an ongoing Spy-Vs-Spy battle where people trying to break codes will be faced with people trying to secure codes — and all of them will be relying on new insights about quantum computing.

Cryptocurrencies

Google’s recent announcement that it achieved a sort of quantum supremacy, immediately caused concern for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency enthusiasts. The theory goes, if quantum computing can break codes, as mentioned above in the Cryptography section, then these currencies that rely on that technology will be threatened. However, this may just trigger an epic battle between hackers and anti-hackers, said one Bitcoin expert.

“Cryptocurrencies can be updated with quantum resistant tech,” said Charles Hayter, chief executive of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency data website, CryptoCompare. “This is just a continuation of the age old arms race between crackers and enciphers.

Chemistry and Material Science

As chemists and material scientists reach the atomic level for their discoveries, quantum computers represent the best way to simulate this incredibly small and data-intensive environment. 

Again, Diamandis commented on this, “Because we can simulate atomic interactions, we’ll explore and invent entirely new, better materials. We might find better superconductors, better magnets, materials that will allow us to create much higher energy density batteries, and so on.”

The End or the New Beginning

It’s important to note that when the term “disruption” is used, that often means some type of apocalyptic destruction. That might not necessarily the case for all of these industries. Some industries may disappear. Others may reach new exponential heights of power and profits. Apocalypse, after all, in the original sense of the word means not the end, but the “unveiling.” And unveiling is exactly what quantum computing is destined to do.