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Abstract

Despite three decades of research, the field of quantum computation has yet to build a quantum computer that can perform a task beyond the capability of any classical computer – an event known as computational supremacy. Yet this multi-billion dollar research industry persists in its efforts to construct such a machine. Based on the counter-intuitive principles of quantum physics, these devices are fundamentally different from the computers we know. It is theorised that large-scale quantum computers will have the ability to perform some remarkably powerful computations, even if the extent of their capabilities remains disputed. One application, however, the factoring of large numbers into their constituent primes, has already been demonstrated using Shor’s quantum algorithm. This capability has far reaching implications for cybersecurity as it poses an unprecedented threat to the public key encryption that forms an important component of the security of all digital communications. This paper outlines the nature of the threat that quantum computation is believed to pose to digital communications and investigates how this emerging technology, coupled with the threat of Adversarial Artificial Intelligence, may result in large technology companies gaining unacceptable political leverage; and it proposes measures that might be implemented to mitigate this eventuality.

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