Richard Bucker

Quantum computers are going to get at your secrets and save the world

Posted at — Dec 9, 2019

I’m watching a TED talk “In the war for information, will quantum computers defeat cryptographers? | Craig Costello”. Granted there are a great many things that I do not know anything about. Sure quantum computers may have a place in the world but while scientists have quantized the length of time to compute all the factors of some really big number they have failed to determine the length of time to build the machine… and then write the operating system and application for it’s purpose. That, in itself, may take as long or longer; so why not get started on the other thing?

My Comments:

There are four very serious problems with this hypothesis. [1] the current machines appear to be models and not the actual machine and the machine is more like early 1960s computers that were bootstrapped with their task rather than modern time-sharing computers [2] writing quantum code is not trivial… if “we” had a computer with the horsepower to solve the problem x*y=some really big number then writing that code would be pretty simple by comparison [3] what is the actual cost per problem solved and how is that expressed over time (see #2); and [4] snake oil? how do you get from encryption to hunger? It’s not like the same program used to decrypt KFC secret recipe can solve world hunger. Solving hunger would need a separate program.

People may always have secrets but encryption can be rendered meaningless by society.

PS: if this is a real thing then it should be a warning to crypto-currencies and their masters. You might make a profit now but the long term benefit may be catastrophic.

PS: this also feels a lot like the hitchhickers guide to the galaxy when the aliens built the earth to solve the problem…. 42.