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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 10th November 2017 > Solace of Quantum

Solace of Quantum

China is leading the world in developing unbreakable encryption by using quantum physics

TECHNOLOGY

GETTY
DANIEL LEAL­OLIVAS/AFP/GETTY

“You’ll be paid based on how well you work with robots.”

THE NAZIS KNEW SECRET COMMUNICATION was the key to world domination. Their prize technology was the electromechanical Enigma machine, an encryption device that allowed German tank divisions, embassies and even submarines to send scrambled radio messages to the Reich during World War II. They believed their system was unbreakable. It was—until a young British mathematician named Alan Turing realized that the signal could be unscrambled if he could create a machine to systematically try thousands of key combinations that would eventually hit upon an intelligible message. The result was the world’s first computer. Britain’s ability to read Germany’s secret codes was a crucial factor in the Allies’ victory.

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