It remains to be seen whether quantum technological developments will follow a pattern of cooperation or competition—or whether we will see a regression towards more secretive programs, aimed at gaining influence in space and on earth.
The latter would be unfortunate, as securing global communications via quantum encryption would greatly reduce the vulnerability of our current communication infrastructure to hacking, espionage and interference. As always, the hope remains that the development of this technology follows a predictable path and will in no way be skewed by rogue actors with dishonest intent.
Nayef Al-Rodhan is an honorary fellow at St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford, and senior fellow and head of the Geopolitics and Global Futures Programme at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. He is the author of Meta-Geopolitics of Outer Space. An Analysis of Space Power, Security and Governance (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).