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Davos WEF 2023: Use Quantum Proof Encryption Now, Says IBM CEO Arvind Krishna

Krishna urged people to start using quantum proof encryption today if they are worried that someone might decrypt their stored files 10 years from now

Photo Credit : WEF


Arvind Krishna, Chairman and CEO, IBM

At the Davos World Economic Forum (WEF) 2023, IBM Chairman and CEO Arvind Krishna urged people to start using quantum proof encryption today if they are worried that someone might decrypt their stored files 10 years from now.

Speaking on the topic of quantum computing, Krishna said that IBM’s latest quantum processor is today operating at over 400 qubits.

Citing a paper from China, he said that quantum computers at over 400 qubits could reportedly break today’s encryptions. But he also strongly expressed his skepticism about the full validity of the paper and went on to estimate that the capability of breaking today’s encryptions to be possible in the range of 400-1000 qubits.

In November 2022, IBM had announced its new 433 qubit 'Osprey' processor, which has the largest qubit count of any IBM quantum processor, more than tripling the 127 qubits on the IBM Eagle processor unveiled in 2021.

During the panel discussion, Krishna said that quantum computers at around 1000 qubits could solve a lot of problems that would be impossible for classical computers. But he emphasised that quantum would not make classical computers obsolete.

“You're not going to run your bank balance on a quantum computer because it may give you a different answer each time. For some things you likely want the same answer,” he explained.

He went on to explain that quantum could do wonders for the physical world which includes materials, chemistry, encryption, optimisation problems. Krishna said he could see such problems getting addressed by 2025 through quantum computers.

According to numbers quoted in a WEF report, public investments in quantum technologies exceeded USD 30 billion by 2022. Private investments for quantum technologies added USD 3.2 billion in 2021 alone and over USD 5.5 billion in the past decade.

IBM has been working on quantum proof encryption to ensure that the power of quantum computers would not overwhelm encryption standards of the future. The company is currently working with US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on this and has contributed to setting preliminary standards for quantum proof encryption.

When asked by the panel moderator at WEF 2023 if quantum computers would be able to get through two-factor authentication (2FA), Krishna nodded in affirmation.

During the panel discussion, the IBM chief also said that quantum computing will have a huge impact on energy and food.

“If we think about bacteria, algae, various other things in nature, they are incredibly efficient at how they leverage and produce energy in food. Quantum is going to unlock those and make that available to the entire population,” he said.

He said that quantum computers literally try to replicate quantum physics and quantum mechanics.

“Quantum is essentially nature,” Krishna said.

He ended addressing the topic of quantum computing by saying that the technology will be able to replicate chemistry and proteins eventually and unlock a massive potential for humanity.

Also Read: Quantum Computing Still At Least Two Decades Away’: NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang