Technological advances and legal work are inseparable from one another. Cutting-edge tech can help law firms make a convincing case and protect their clients, and some technologies create new legal ambiguities. One of the latest of these disruptive technologies is quantum computing, and it demands legal workers’ attention.
Quantum computing is a recent advancement and will likely take a few years before it becomes widely accessible. Still, its potential is so vast that law firms should start looking into what it could mean now. Given how fast technology develops, quantum computing could come sooner than you’d think.
So what is a quantum computer, and what will it mean for law firms? Here’s a closer look at this burgeoning technology.
Bits and Qubits and What They Mean
Quantum computers aren’t just more powerful versions of today’s devices. They operate differently. Traditional computers calculate using bits of information, which represent a value of either one or zero. Quantum computers, on the other hand, use qubits, which are particles that store data and have multiple properties.
Since a qubit can store more information in both number and variety than a bit, quantum computers are exponentially faster and more capable. In late 2019, Google’s quantum computer, Sycamore, calculated something in 200 seconds that would take millennia on a traditional device. That difference in speed means much more than faster load times.
Quantum computing can solve problems that would be virtually impossible on a traditional system. While today’s devices have to work through calculations one step at a time, quantum computers can run multiple steps simultaneously. When this technology becomes more accessible, it could revolutionize every industry it touches.
Legal Repercussions of Quantum Computing
As with many disruptive technologies, the power of quantum computing poses some troubling potential legal consequences. Since quantum computers are so far ahead of traditional ones, it could create 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.
Privacy and data security are some of the most prominent concerns here. An organization, like Google, with a quantum computer could decrypt any modern encryption standard an ordinary user has, jeopardizing their privacy. That could infringe on the protection of whistleblowers, who are responsible for 70% of recovered damages in fraud cases.
Imagine if the NSA requested access to such a machine, or if they purchased their own. No amount of privacy measures on a citizen’s computer would be a match for the invasive power of quantum computing. If this technology fell into the hands of a bad actor or hostile government, it could pose an even more alarming risk, which is why users need to educate themselves before using it.
How Quantum Computing May Help Law Firms
As this technology becomes more accessible, it could be a useful tool for legal professionals. Quantum computing’s stunning ability to multitask means that it’s ideal for data analytics.
Researchers have determined that quantum computing could revolutionize optimization, which many businesses already rely on computers to do. A quantum computer could find and present ways for law firms to help clients or streamline research and paperwork. With enough advancement, these machines could even interpret laws autonomously, offering automated legal advice.
Predictive analytics can already help law firms understand the most likely outcomes of a case. With quantum computing, these analytics could produce far more accurate and nuanced results. Law firms could predict client behavior, seasons where cases could rise or whether an attorney would be a good fit.
Information sharing would be exponentially faster on a quantum system, making distant collaboration far easier. That would help both remote workers and attorneys working on international cases. As far as that goes, quantum computing could help even more by providing instant and accurate translation services.
Legal Professionals Must Stay Up-to-Date With Technology
Technology can be both a useful tool and a source of legal ambiguity for law firms. As tech plays an increasingly crucial role in society, legal professionals can’t afford to fall behind on it. Advances like quantum computing are too significant for attorneys and lawyers to ignore.
Quantum computing may be new, but it won’t remain inaccessible for long. Law firms need to keep an eye on the technology, both for their success as a business and coming legal battlegrounds.