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22 January 2020

Just 20 years into the 21st Century, we have already seen remarkable changes that we could never have anticipated. We’ve come up with 20 predictions that explore what the next 20 years may have in store for your organisation.

Prediction 10

Quantum computers will redefine our understanding of processing potential – this technology will disrupt a broad range of industries over the next 20 years.

Quantum computers provide the ability to solve complex problems significantly beyond the capabilities of today’s machines and although this technology is still at an early stage in terms of maturity and adoption, major advances are now being made.

Future applications of quantum computing span a wide range of industries. To take just two examples, they could vastly improve healthcare by assisting in drug discovery and creating life-saving medicines; and they could hugely improve fraud detection and portfolio risk optimisation in financial services.

The ability for quantum computers to analyse unprecedented amounts of data makes them ideal for logistical and optimisation problems – providing a potential game changer for companies such as e-commerce giants and ride-sharing apps.

Quantum computing will also dramatically improve weather and climate modelling, transforming agriculture, our ability to detect natural disasters and our understanding of climate change. Further practical applications of quantum computing will emerge over the next three to five years, with wide-scale adoption within the next two decades.

Trends in quantum computing

Impact

When quantum computing is exploited to its full potential – in whatever application or industry – businesses lacking this capability may struggle to compete, just as paper-based organisations found themselves rapidly eclipsed by early adopters of computing.

However, there are challenges to overcome. For example, we will need to agree quantum computing standards, so that we have the technical consistency required to accelerate the development of the technology and underpin economies of scale.

There will also be security risks associated with the development of quantum computing; governments are responding but will need to focus on this issue, while businesses need to consider protection too . Several new cryptographic methods currently under active research could combat future quantum attacks.

Curious to find out what else could happen between now and 2040? Read our other predictions

KPMG does not make any statement in this article as to whether any forecasts or projections included in this article will be achieved, or whether the assumptions and data underlying any prospective economic forecasts or projections are accurate, complete or reasonable. KPMG does not warrant or guarantee the achievement of any such forecasts or projections. Any economic projections or forecasts in this report rely on economic inputs that are subject to unavoidable statistical variation. They also rely on economic parameters that are subject to unavoidable statistical variation. While all care has been taken to account for statistical variation, care should be taken whenever considering or using this information. There will usually be differences between forecast or projected and actual results, because events and circumstances frequently do not occur as expected or predicted, and those differences may be material. Any estimates or projections will only take into account information available to KPMG up to the date of this report and so findings may be affected by new information. Events may have occurred since this article was prepared, which may impact on it and its findings.

The information contained herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the specific circumstances of any particular individual or entity.

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