In First Public Speech, UK’s Spy Chief Says Country Will Invest, Innovate and Collaborate to Counter Quantum Threats

Richard Moore
Richard Moore

In First Public Speech, UK’s Spy Chief Says Country Will Invest, Innovate and Collaborate to Counter Quantum Threats

Richard Moore
In first public speech, UK’s Chief of MI6 says country must invest in advanced technologies. to counter threats

Quantum technology — and their ability to affect global security — was specifically called out during the first public speech of the chief of the UK Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). He also said that the country has their own secret weapon to counter those threats — its business community and talented workforce

Richard Moore, who has served as the MI6 chief since 2020, told the  that advanced technologies in the hands of adversarial powers, such as Russian, China and Iran, are dramatically changing the security landscape.

in a speech at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), he pointed to quantum technologies as one of those advanced tech behind this new complex landscape.

“Advances in quantum engineering and engineered biology will change entire industries,” said Moore. “The huge volumes of data now available across the globe, combined with ever increasing computer power and advances in data science, will mean the integration of artificial intelligence, AI, into almost every aspect of our daily lives .”

Moore said the budgets of potential enemies show their interest in using advanced technologies.

“Our adversaries are pouring money and ambition into mastering artificial intelligence, quantum computing and synthetic biology, because they know that mastering these technologies will give them leverage,” Moore said.

To counter this threat, Moore told the group that the UK must be willing to invest, innovate and collaborate.

These, he adds, are historic strengths of the UK.

“This is not new: we have always been at the leading edge of innovation, from the chemistry that enabled us to produce secret writing technologies in the early days of the service, to the wireless and secure speech technologies we developed during the Second World War,” Moore said. “And today we are founding members of the National Cyber Force – the UK’s unified cyber command – which conducts cyber operations to counter state threats, terrorist, and criminals and to support military deployments.”

Moore said that while James Bond had Q, UK’s modern national security apparatus has their own technology experts — the business community.

“What is new is that we are now pursuing partnerships with the tech community to help develop world-class technologies to solve our biggest mission problems,” Moore said, adding, “Through the National Security Strategic Investment Fund we are opening up our mission problems to those with talent in organisations that wouldn’t normally work with national security. Unlike Q in the Bond movies, we cannot do it all in-house.”

To make all of this happen, the country should invest in an already committed, trained and diverse workforce. He made a particular call for people to join MI6.

“Our future workforce must represent the very best of British talent, and be as diverse as the population we serve,” Moore said. “This is my personal priority as Chief, and it will include a huge effort on recruitment. We need to increase the diversity of our workplace and draw in those who never thought of working for us before. Come and join! There is no more important or – I believe – more exciting time to work for MI6.”

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Matt Swayne

Matt Swayne

With a several-decades long background in journalism and communications, Matt Swayne has worked as a science communicator for an R1 university for more than 12 years, specializing in translating high tech and deep tech for the general audience. He has served as a writer, editor and analyst at The Quantum Insider since its inception. In addition to his service as a science communicator, Matt also develops courses to improve the media and communications skills of scientists and has taught courses.

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