The Promise and Peril of Quantum Computing and Its Implications for Cyber Insurance

Journal of Emerging Issues in Litigation

PUBLISHED ON: February 22, 2024

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Quantum computing, like artificial intelligence, is one of several emerging technologies that could either save the planet or end the world, depending on which expert is holding forth on the issue. Still mostly theoretical, quantum computing promises to turbocharge computer processing speeds, allowing future quantum computers to solve in a matter of milliseconds complex mathematical equations that would take conventional computers thousands or even millions of years to perform. It is too early to know whether the potential benefits of quantum computing will outweigh the potential risks, or how those risks may be mitigated by modern cyber insurance policies. This article explores the promise and peril of quantum computing and the potential coverage implications under cyber insurance policies.

Quantum Computing on the Horizon

Since the dawn of the computer age to the present, all information that has ever been processed by computers can be reduced in simplest form to a series of “bits,” binary packets represented as either a 1 or a 0.1 Although processing speeds have increased exponentially in that time, the bit-based system imposes hard limits on the speed at which modern-day, “classical” computers can perform certain complicated calculations.2 Quantum computers, while still largely theoretical, could change that. In quantum computing, the bit is replaced with the “quantum bit,” or “qubit,” which harnesses the seemingly mystical properties of quantum physics.

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