Blockchain, 3D printing, big data, internet of things, artificial intelligence. A decade ago these were nascent technologies known only to hardcore geeks. Fast forward 10 years and they affect the everyday lives of billions. The question now is, what’s next?

Quantum computers are one of the hottest buzzwords today. Developed by governments including the United States, Russia, and China and companies like IBM, Google, Microsoft, and Alibaba, quantum computers may offer computing power that far exceeds anything we have seen to date.

Most recently, Google announced its new 72-qubit quantum computer in March 2018. What does this mean? 50 qubits is considered the approximate number at which quantum computing becomes capable of calculations that conventional computers cannot handle in a timely manner.

Scientists believe that we can use quantum computers to tackle and explore problems that cannot be solved otherwise. This innovative approach will enable us to understand many of nature’s mysteries, create new medicines and materials, and come up with better ways to safeguard our data or explore space.

Conventional computers use bits, a basic unit of information, each of which can have a value of either 0 or 1. For example, in two bits we can represent four different states “00”,”01”,”10,” and “11.” Quantum computers use qubits. Qubits can hold a zero, a one, or any proportion of both zero and one at the same time.

An array of qubits can use superposition to represent all 264 possible values at once, allowing a quantum computer to solve problems that are practically impossible for standard computers. That said, quantum computers also pose a serious threat to the world’s digital security systems by breaking the strongest forms of encryption used to protect sensitive data.

In order to ensure our data’s safety and privacy we use foundation technologies called Encryption and Secure Key Exchange. First we exchange keys, then we encrypt data. For the average user, the only evidence of this activity is the little lock that shows up on a browser.

Thus far, Secure Key Exchange has been based on mathematical problems that are hard to solve. In fact, the foundation of all internet security is based on certain mathematical equations that take normal computers a long time to figure out.

In 1994, a scientist from IBM, Peter Shor, proved that quantum computers can break all Secure Key Exchange based on complex math. Today we estimate that they will be able to hack traditional math-based security in the next few years. The fact is we don’t need to wait for quantum computers to worry about encryption being hacked, and it won’t be long before even “regular” computers impose a threat.

What will happen to the foundation of internet security?

Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) is the answer since it does not rely on math, but on the principles of quantum physics.

The need for absolute encryption also impacts the 5G industry. In the next few years we will see a large investment of up to $1 trillion in the distribution of 5G networks. These networks are based on a massive deployment of new fiber networks that must remain secure and viable for the next 20 years. Network providers already know that traditional encryption and key exchange will be broken within this time period.

As a result, they are seeking Quantum Key Distribution solutions, which are currently the only proven security solution. These providers have already invested over $65 million in Quantum Encryption companies.

QuantLR, a LABS/02 startup that originated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is leading the market in producing low-cost systems for easy integration with current communication systems. QuantLR’s unique approach and technology is promising wide-scale deployment of the best encryption solution throughout worldwide 5G networks.

Brain-Machine Interface

The combination of neuroscience and technology, otherwise known as brain-machine interface, is a relatively new trend, enabled by significant advancements in both fields. On the highest level, neurotechnology provides the ability to connect the human brain to machines, a form of “telepathy” where people can mentally communicate their motor commands, thoughts, and feelings directly to advanced AI powered machines.

These technologies are expected to surge in the near future due to vast research that has been done in recent decades. Brain to machine interfaces empower vast advances in areas such as medical detection, treatment of illnesses, mental and motor skill enhancement, thought-based communication and control, as well as in the entertainment and gaming industries.

Companies like CorrActions are already developing such solutions. They are working on a first generation non-invasive “mind reading” platform (i.e. without recording the brain signals). It utilizes micro-changes in the human motor system to identify when a person’s brain detects a mistake before the error ever occurs — and before that error becomes accessible to conscious awareness.

This technology is based on decades of Dr. Eldad Hochman’s research. Hochman is a neuropsychologist and brain scientist, and an expert in the field of performance monitoring, action, and error control. The mechanism is an off-the-shelf sensor already embedded in a mouse, joystick, mobile phone, steering wheel, etc. The solution enables real-time identification of brain activity associated with error detection thus preventing the mistake from being executed. The significance of error prevention during human-machine interactions is vital in areas such as robotic surgery and the automotive industry, where preventing mistakes in real-time is a matter of life an death.

An IBM Q cryostat used to keep IBM’s 50-qubit quantum computer cold in the IBM Q lab in Yorktown Heights, NY

Growing Networks

Cities are getting smarter. Within ten years our garbage will be automatically sorted and bins will alert the municipality when they’re full. Traffic lights will identify waiting cars and will alert the municipality when bulbs need to be replaced. Even 911 call centers will be upgraded to 5G 911 which will create a faster, more resilient system that allows voice, photos, videos, and text messages to flow seamlessly from the public to the 911 network. These advancements will allow cities to provide better services for a lower price and it is all dependent on networks. As the number of networks grows exponentially, so does the amount of data and the sensors that it collects. By bringing together a breakthrough light technology, ultra-high sensitive sensors, and edge-based AI, Juganu is building adaptive platforms setting new standards for next generation’s wireless networks, enabling smart technologies and smart cities to flourish.

As a result, these advancements create new dangers and opportunities for hackers. Atlanta, a leading smart city, suffered a devastating cyber attack last year that cost $17M and brought down many of their municipal services for months. Similar attacks occurred on Baltimore and Denver. Protecting these new networks is very difficult as specialized appliances, which can only monitor small parts of the network, become more ubiquitous. Their monitoring capabilities are limited and grow much more slowly than the network does. In addition, these solutions are all reactive rather than proactive, which means you’re scrambling to mitigate damage. This leaves back doors to critical infrastructure open and large parts of the network unprotected. Companies like mPrest are tacking this modern challenge. Leveraging game-changing technology, mPrest created a mission critical monitoring and control solutions for the defense, security, utility and Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) sectors.

Tweenz is based on a unique technology which takes small network samples (1% of the data) and infers the network’s state. This provides the city with full visibility of all its networks for a fraction of the cost and effort. In addition, Tweenz uses its knowledge of the network state to predict what the network will look like in the future. This capability allows it to predict cyber attacks before they happen, which starts to allow for proactive solutions. This technology will provide all cities with full visibility of the network and provide protection against the attacks they face.

This is an excerpt from OurCrowd’s Q2 Innovation Insider, download it here.

About the Authors

Stav Erez, Partner, Labs/02, OurCrowd

Techelet Hazony, Associate, Labs/02, OurCrowd

Yishai Binnes, Analyst, Labs/02, OurCrowd