Quantum computing as an insurance policy
An insurance policy is an opportunity to pay a relatively small amount of money in order to protect against a much larger loss. Some companies look at quantum as an insurance policy. Would that be a correct way to look at quantum computing?
Defining insurance as a small cost to protect against larger losses, quantum technology can be considered a type of insurance if the losses are truly larger than the costs. Let’s investigate how one can think about these losses.
Consider the costs of investing in quantum. Proofs of concepts and the exploration of quantum hardware and software take time, some money, and a certain level of competency. Through investing in quantum, a company spends money and time but gains knowledge on how to utilize quantum technology. Fortunately, quantum computing can be considered an operating expense, not a capital expense. An organization does not need to buy a quantum computer. Instead, it can rent one on-demand through the major cloud providers.
If the predictions about quantum are true, with quantum advantage truly changing the game, then a company that invests in quantum could have a huge reward. And if the predictions aren’t true, then that company has spent some time and money, but the quantum knowledge gained will still be applicable to many aspects of the business, either in the systems thinking or physical knowledge that allows one to conceive of new solutions.
Let’s consider not investing in quantum: business as usual. Then, if quantum is a game changer, a company will have to decide if they will catch up, possibly paying more money than an original investment, or continue without using quantum technology. Will the company become obsolete? Will great people still be available to hire? Is it the case, like a 9-month pregnancy, some processes simply cannot be accelerated, and a slow start in quantum means always lagging behind? The exact risk of loss can’t quite be calculated. But can one calculate all the possible losses that insurance protects from?
And if quantum isn’t a game changer, then business continues while other companies have new insights from learning quantum. Will the company be able to compete with others? This is another risk of loss we can’t quite calculate.
The protection insurance provides isn’t always necessary, but investing in it is an essential step for a business to take a step back and consider what losses entail. A company who doesn’t invest in quantum runs the risk of becoming obsolete or lacking new insights, and it’s up to that company to decide how to weigh that risk against the price to enter the quantum industry. With the cost being relatively low, and the potential payoff exceptionally high, it is no wonder that many companies are exploring quantum computing.
Originally published at https://www.classiq.io.