Sundar Viswanathan is the Head of Emerging Technologies for Fujitsu in the Oceania region.

Fans of the early 1990s science fiction TV series Quantum Leap may remember that a quantum leap is a massive advance or sudden change. And that’s what could be on the cards for the Australian financial services industry if it embraces quantum computing and artificial intelligence (AI).

AI is already being used in plenty of organisations to automate manual, repetitive work. Machine learning algorithms are getting adept at identifying patterns and, therefore, anomalies that could indicate fraud or other activities that need to be investigated.

And, AI is getting smarter all the time. Soon, humans may be unable to distinguish when they’re interacting with machines versus other humans. Self-service chatbots have already taken the place of human customer service representatives in many businesses, with customers often unaware that they’re interacting with a computer. This can let financial services firms automate much of the customer onboarding process and address routine requests for help.

All of this has been delivered using regular computers.

Now, quantum computing promises to deliver computing power capable of solving the most complex problems that are currently deemed unsolvable.

How quantum computing works

Today’s computers operate using a string of ones and zeros. This is known as binary computing and, while it has been very effective for decades, it is relatively limiting. By contrast, quantum computing adds ‘qubits’ (quantum bits), which are quantum systems with two states, so they can store much more information than just a one or a zero. They can hold different positions simultaneously and aren’t blocked by anything in their way.

Put simply, this dramatically speeds up a computer’s power and lets it consider a massive number of variables simultaneously to come up with the best answer to any problem.

For example, when banks decide how much money to put in ATMs at each location, they use a complex mathematical formula to try to minimise the amount of cash an ATM holds to reduce risk while still ensuring customers can access their money. Calculating the optimum spread of cash is difficult but a quantum computer could do so almost instantly.

Now, consider how powerful this capability could be when it comes to deciding how much of a customer’s money to invest in which stocks and when to make those investments. Quantum computing can make it simple to assess the opportunities and risks, the potential value of investments, and the ideal timing to maximise that value. This can save you time and make transactions less risky and more secure.

Quantum computing + AI = unprecedented benefits

Adding quantum computing to already-clever AI applications can make it possible for you to analyse complex problem sets at a truly granular level.

The combined power of AI and quantum computing can overcome some of the current technology challenges and let you extract meaningful and actionable insights from data sets, regardless of size, quickly and reliably.

In doing this, you’d be able to provide more surety to your clients, offering better returns on investment and more specific advice. Importantly, you’d be able to provide a vastly improved quality of advice at scale, helping many more customers.

True quantum computing could be less than a decade away. In the meantime, Fujitsu’s Digital Annealer takes the industry one step closer to quantum computing using conventional technology.

To find out how your financial services business can benefit from quantum-like computing, contact us today