Owing to their natural isolation, quantum optical systems of atoms, ions and molecules offer an attractive platform to study out-of-equilibrium quantum dynamics. In this talk, I will provide two examples of the diverse physics enabled by the quantum control of dipolar ensembles. First, I will describe how to coherently prepare topological order in a non-equilibrium setting. Second, I will show that these systems can directly explore physics beyond that of single particle Anderson localization. Finally, time permitting, I will combine these stories and describe how localization can protect both topological order and quantum information.