July 10, 2020 – 10:00 EDT
We’d like to thank IBM Canada for providing the tech support and online platform to host this international event.
When Sputnik was launched in 1957, it didn’t matter that the small, unarmed research probe itself posed no serious immediate risk to the liberal world. The dual-use technologies at the heart of space exploration justified a much greater fear: winning the space race could spell geopolitical supremacy for the communist block, because of its implications for nuclear weapon delivery, reconnaissance, surveillance, and telecommunications.
Today, Chinese and American companies are vying for “quantum supremacy”, a tipping point at which a quantum computer succeeds in surpassing the fastest traditional supercomputers. Already, this measure of success has been claimed by one research group, and as a greater range of operations achieves this spectacular speed of computation – million-fold increases in computing speeds – the dual-use nature of the technology inspires optimism, but also trepidation.
While the processing power of quantum computing has the potential to allow incredible advances in chemical engineering and fundamental physics – which could mean super-fast vaccine development, new treatments to cancer, clean energy, etc., it also poses significant security threats as it endangers aspects of classical encryption—the very thing that protects data and communications today. The vulnerabilities of public-key cryptography and the ease with which quantum computers could break cryptographic codes means all information on the internet eventually be compromised. Some experts suggest that cyberattacks are already taking place to collect data that will be decryptable in the near future. The “quantum threat” to critical infrastructure, military operations, privacy, international trade, and finances is unbounded.
In this context, the future of defense and security appear precarious. Our speakers will explore the nature of the quantum threat. We will ask: Are our governments and industries adequately transitioning to and investing in quantum-safe encryption? If not, what steps can be taken to ensure a safer future? What are the implications of fast, simple decryption and encryption for cybersecurity, information-sharing and the critical infrastructure underpinning our societies?
MUNK SCHOOL OF GLOBAL AFFAIRS & PUBLIC POLICY
A political scientist with a background in computer science and military service, Jon Lindsay’s research examines the impact of technology on global security. His publications include China and Cybersecurity: Espionage, Strategy, and Politics in the Digital Domain (Oxford University Press, 2015), co-edited with Tai Ming Cheung and Derek Reveron, and articles in International Security, Security Studies, Journal of Strategic Studies, Technology and Culture, and the Journal of Cybersecurity. He is completing a book, Shifting the Fog of War: Information Technology and the Politics of Control, and working on a multi-institutional research project on deterrence theory. Professor Lindsay holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.S. in Computer Science and B.S. in Symbolic Systems from Stanford University. He has served in the U.S. Navy with operational assignments in Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.
fellow of emerging technologies
Alliance for securing democracy
german marshall fund’s alliance
Lindsay Gorman is the Emerging Technology Fellow at the German Marshall Fund’s Alliance for Securing Democracy and a consultant for Schmidt Futures. A physicist and computer scientist by training, she previously ran a technology consulting firm, Politech Advisory, advising start-ups and venture capital and has worked with cybersecurity companies in Silicon Valley. Her research focuses on understanding and crafting a transatlantic response to China’s techno-authoritarian rise, from 5G and the future internet to information manipulation and censorship. Lindsay regularly briefs senior leaders across the Atlantic on these topics and building a democratic approach to emerging technologies. She is also a member of the Truman National Security Project and an awardee of the U.S. State Department Speaker Program.
Lindsay has spent over a decade at the intersection of technology development and national security policy, including in the Office of U.S. Senator Mark Warner, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the National Academy of Sciences. Her technical expertise lies in artificial intelligence, statistical machine learning, and quantum materials. Lindsay holds an A.B. in physics from Princeton University, where she graduated magna cum laude, and a M.S. in applied physics from Stanford University.
JAMES ANDREW LEWIS
Senior-Vice President and Director
Technology Policy Program
CentER for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
DIRECTOR – QUANTUM-SAFE CANADA
CO-FOUNDER – INSTITUTE FOR QUANTUM COMPUTING