CLTC Seminar Series

Quantum Technologies and International Security

Wednesday, May 3, 2017
12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Frank L. Smith III

Someday, quantum technologies may revolutionize the digital computers and communication networks that currently define the Information Age. But most revolutions — scientific, technological, political — are disruptive if not destructive; even without violence, revolutionary change can still produce winners and losers. Given their revolutionary potential, what quantum technologies are on the horizon and how will they influence the future of international security?

In this workshop, CLTC Visiting Scholar Frank L. Smith III will briefly survey the technological landscape, focusing on two of the most prominent and potentially disruptive capabilities: quantum computing and quantum cryptography. Despite considerable uncertainty about these capabilities, and even greater uncertainty about their political impact, social scientific theories about the security dilemma and the social construction of technology highlight several variables that stand to be significant. Dr. Smith will play these variables out through scenarios of possible futures, which encourage creative thinking about what to watch for as the world develops quantum technologies and, from a policy perspective, what to do to favor more benign or beneficial outcomes.


Frank L. Smith III is a visiting scholar at the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity and a senior lecturer with the Centre for International Security Studies and the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney. In addition, he is a co-founder of the Sydney Cyber Security Network. His research and teaching examine how political organizations and social institutions mediate the relationship between technology and international security. The origins and applications of technology — tools — interests him, and he works with theories ranging from realism to constructivism to analyze the interplay of these tools with survival and statecraft.

His time has been split between Australia and the United States. Prior to Sydney, he was a research fellow with the Griffith Asia Institute, as well as a pre-doctoral fellow with the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University. More recently, he has been a visiting scholar with the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity at UC Berkeley, and with the Institute for Security and Conflict Studies at the Elliott School of International Affairs. He received his Ph.D. in political science and B.S. in biological chemistry, both from the University of Chicago.

Last updated:

April 25, 2017