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The Quantum Diplomacy Frontier: Navigating the Promises & Perils

As the frontiers of quantum computing rapidly advance, the implications extend far beyond just technological supremacy. André Xuereb, Malta’s Ambassador for Digital Affairs, offered insights into this unfolding landscape where diplomacy and strategic governance are vital in an interview with DiploFoundation.

“There’s a technology which has very important groundbreaking positive applications but can easily be misused,” said Xuereb. “One could almost call it a dual-use technology in some sense and how do we govern this?”

While quantum computers possess immense potential benefits like revolutionizing drug discovery and cryptography, they also introduce new global risks and disruptions if mishandled. As Xuereb explains: “If you had a quantum computer, you’d be able to decrypt information that we’re sending to each other over supposedly secure means rather easily.”

The urgency isn’t being fully grasped yet, in his view.

“Even at the simple level of diplomats not quite getting just how critical the problem is and just how near term it is, it’s going to sneak up on us,” he said.

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But the challenges extend beyond just quantum computing.

“From the quantum communication side of things there are similar discussions, similar repercussions about how do we roll out such a technology which allows us to communicate in absolute security,” Xuereb described. “Is that a good thing or a bad thing?”

Navigating this rapidly evolving quantum landscape requires foresight and international collaboration from both public and private sectors.

“What we’re seeing is that many of the big tech giants have a very strong investment in these technologies. I would not divorce that from the diplomatic perspective,” he said.

As Xuereb argues, even smaller nations can find important niches: “Each country, each region has a role to play in these technologies, and if you play your cards right, then that gives you a very strong voice in the governance side of things which then feeds back onto your diplomacy.”

With perspectives like Xuereb’s highlighting the interplay of emerging quantum capabilities and geopolitics, the frontier of “quantum diplomacy” is quickly taking shape as a strategic imperative for the future. Getting the governance frameworks right will require profound foresight to promote peaceful progress while mitigating risks.

Featured image: Credit: DiploFoundation

James Dargan

James Dargan is a writer and researcher at The Quantum Insider. His focus is on the QC startup ecosystem and he writes articles on the space that have a tone accessible to the average reader.

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