Four Steps To Your Quantum Roadmap

Corporate messaging and PR in late December and early January tend to focus on a review of the previous year. When we talk about New Year’s resolutions, we usually focus on tactical ideas or personal improvements. In this blog, we’ll take a different approach.

 

Your corporate New Year’s resolutions should include deep thinking about the implications of quantum technology.

A senior corporate executive once asked my co-founder John Volpi a question, “Is it too late for me to make a decision?” John’s answer was classic; “No, it’s not too late. It’s far, far too late.”

You might think, “My company isn’t really in a business impacted by this stuff.” But you’d be wrong. You aren’t alone. We’ve been part of several quantum strategy exercises and war games in the past six months. None of which went very well.

So, is it far, far too late? No, but it’s time to lay out a quantum roadmap for your organization. And, based on the struggles Lone Star has observed lately, here are some pointers to help you work toward quantum readiness:

 

Step Zero: understand what every intelligence agency knows: Your encryption is a ticking timebomb.

 We know one of the first applications of quantum computers will be the destruction of the two most pervasive forms of encrypting information. Opponents who “harvest now, decrypt later” are collecting your encrypted files. These will be stored until mature quantum computers are available. Your files are a future liability.

So, you should be moving to quantum-resistant encryption. The National Institute of Standards has been benchmarking and promoting it. Your IT folks should be giving you a plan to implement it. You should be thinking about what information is worth protecting 2 – 5 years from now and prioritize what is moved to the new schemes.

You may have a fiduciary responsibility to do this to protect your company. You probably have a duty of care for your stakeholders, whose data you house, whether those are customers, employees, vendors, or stockholders. So, consider this now before you move to the four steps in building your roadmap.

 

Step One: begin to understand the ways in which quantum technology will change our organizations and how we perform our missions.

Don’t think of quantum technology as just “computing.” Quantum entanglement as a form of communication is already providing tantalizing results. Fiber optic networks will probably allow us to share both conventional and quantum data.

So, can quantum entanglement provide non-line of sight communication faster than the speed of light? Some very smart folks doubt it. But, just like quantum computing will change data security, quantum communications will be changed too. And it’s likely some underpinnings of your enterprise have predictable changes you should be thinking about.

Quantum technology will change more than computing and networking. It will change sensors, precision timing, and other components of modern systems.

Only your team can determine what this means for your organization. So, before you spend a great deal of time and money, strive to gain some understanding about what can change and how it might shift your competitiveness. You may later need to spend a great deal, but throwing money at quantum now is a bad bet for most organizations.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking expensive activity is valuable progress. That mistake is just as bad as doing nothing.

 

Step Two: look deeply into what quantum can’t change.

Google, IBM, Amazon, and others are putting great effort into the development of quantum neural networks.  This is due in part to the hope quantum AI is likely to be less of a data hog than the current mainstream systems.

But understand, this kind of AI still depends on enormous amounts of labeled data. And also understand that much of the quantum AI work is focused on just making AI possible on a quantum machine which does not yet exist.

Lone Star’s Evolved AI® is less dependent on training data than any alternative we have identified. Further, we know (from rigorous math) many useful problems require multiple lifetimes of the universe to collect labeled data before any neural network can be trained, quantum or classical.

So, we are confident; some competitive advantages won’t be impacted by quantum technology.

And some of this will be true for your organization, too. But be careful. This is an area where disciplined thinking is hard. It is also where hubris and denial are amazingly easy.

 

Step Three: Think about where quantum allows you to exploit your core competencies to create future competitive advantage.

Lone Star’s core competencies include sophisticated use of uncertainty, which is at the core of many of quantum’s most promising attributes. In turn, that creates a natural way for us to think about where our Cipher Alchemy® unit should focus.

Your competencies are your own. But if you complete steps zero through two, you will find some opportunities to consider. A few of those opportunities will be worth the allocation of some investment.

 

Step Four: Build a Quantum Roadmap for your organization.

It won’t be perfect. Developments in the coming months and years will require revisions. Competitors will create some surprises. You’ll have to adjust your course.

Revisions and adjustments are only possible if you have a course previously charted.

We are beginning to share Lone Star’s roadmap capabilities with key customers. We want them to know our plans to extend Lone Star’s leadership in prescriptive and predictive analytics. The breakthroughs in our Evolved AI® will be providing Decision Superiority™ for years to come.