James Der Derian – A Quantum of Insecurity


"Of what value is security for world politics? Has the classical concept of security, built upon a foundation of hard borders, martial power and fixed identities, lost its value in a new world of transnational flows, political uncertainty and Donald Trump? If so, what is the alternative? [...]

A quantum future is coming, and coming faster than we thought, bringing with it the potential for great risks as well as unimaginable benefits. Ultimately, quantum might crack the codes of genetic diseases, anticipate and possibly even mitigate climate change as well as optimize the flow of goods, resources and money. But it is also likely to break the ciphers of states and citizens, expand surveillance and data-mining and enable results that can be condensed into five propositions, each of which warrants further investigation under the rubric of ‘quantum insecurity’:

  • In security we find insecurity; they are existentially linked, mutually constitutive and temporally relative
  • Designed as the ultimate security strategy for the sovereign state, nuclear deterrence elevated the existential insecurity of humankind from metaphysical to physical
  • Strategic and diplomatic responses will lag, as is often the case, behind new quantum technologies of computing, communication and artificial intelligence, creating new states of insecurity
  • Authoritarian nationalism is likely to increase as both symptom and source of the globalization of insecurity
  • As solace if not yet a solution to the classical (in)security dilemma: a quantum security based on human entanglement rather than national estrangement"

Can you find a quantum of solace in( )security? Or the solace of (in)security in quantum?