Technological progress and legal work are inextricably linked. Cutting-edge technology can help law firms make arguments and protect their clients, and some technologies create new legal confusion. One of the newest of these disruptive technologies is quantum computing and requires the attention of legal staff.
Quantum computing is a recent advancement and will likely take a few years to become widely available. Still, its potential is so great that law firms should look into what it could mean now. Given the speed at which technology is evolving, quantum computing could be coming sooner than you think.
What is a quantum computer and what does it mean for law firms? Here’s a closer look at this burgeoning technology.
Bits and Qubits and what they mean
Quantum computers are not just more powerful versions of today’s devices. They work differently. Conventional computers calculate using bits of information that represent either a value of one or zero. Quantum computers, on the other hand, use qubits, particles that store data and have several properties.
Since a qubit can store more information in number and variety than a bit, quantum computers are exponentially faster and more powerful. At the end of 2019, Google’s quantum computer Sycamore calculated something in 200 seconds that would take thousands of years on a conventional device. This speed difference means a lot more than faster loading times.
Quantum computing can solve problems that would be practically impossible on a traditional system. While today’s devices have to perform step-by-step calculations, quantum computers can perform several steps simultaneously. As this technology becomes more accessible, it could revolutionize every industry that it touches.
Legal implications of quantum computing
As with many disruptive technologies, the power of the quantum computer carries some worrying potential legal ramifications. Since quantum computers are so far ahead of conventional ones, this could lead to an unequal balance of power in cybersecurity. A person or organization with a quantum computer could easily slip past the defenses of a standard device.
Data protection and data security are some of the most important concerns here. An organization like Google with a quantum computer could decrypt any modern encryption standard used by a normal user and thus endanger his or her privacy. This could violate the protection of whistleblowers, who are responsible for 70% of the damage reimbursed in cases of fraud.
Imagine if the NSA requested access to such a machine or bought its own. No amount of privacy measures on a citizen’s computer would match the invasive power of the quantum computer. If this technology falls into the hands of a bad actor or hostile government, it can pose an even more alarming risk, which is why users need to educate themselves before using it.
How Quantum Computing Can Help Law Firms
As this technology becomes more accessible, it could be a useful tool for lawyers. Quantum Computing’s impressive multitasking ability makes it ideal for data analysis.
Researchers have found that quantum computers could revolutionize optimization that many companies already rely on computers for. A quantum computer could find and present ways for law firms to help clients or streamline research and paperwork. With enough progress, these machines could even interpret laws autonomously and offer automated legal advice.
Predictive analytics can already help law firms understand the most likely outcomes of a case. With quantum computers, these analyzes could deliver far more precise and differentiated results. Law firms could predict client behavior, times of year when cases might arise, or whether a lawyer would be a good fit for you.
The exchange of information on a quantum system would be exponentially faster, which makes remote collaboration much easier. This would help both remote workers and lawyers to work on international cases. In this respect, quantum computers could help even more by providing instant and accurate translation services.
Legal professionals need to stay up to date with the latest technology
Technology can be both a useful tool and a source of legal confusion for law firms. With technology playing an increasingly important role in society, lawyers cannot afford to fall back on it. Advances like quantum computing are too significant for lawyers and attorneys to ignore.
Quantum computing is new, but it won’t be inaccessible for long. Law firms need to keep an eye on technology, both for their success as businesses and for future legal battlegrounds.