Quantum for Social Good : Ethical Qubits and the Regulatory State

Quantum Meta-Physics: Heuristics . Aesthetics . Ethics. The Centre for International Security Studies 6th annual Q Symposium, University of Sydney. 24-25 June 2021. Quarantine Station.

Posted: 24 Jul 2021

Date Written: June 24, 2021

Abstract

For this panel on the ethics of quantum technologies, I offer provocations that imagine the future of policy and governance, specifically regulation. In this talk I ask : How will we evaluate quantum computing outcomes in social contexts? Regulatory and policy regimes rely on stable measurements that quantum technologies destabilize. Governments create many such boundaries that separate legal from illegal based on quantitative thresholds, like a speed limit. Society is alerted to problems through measurements that allow for common statistical and mathematical methods to make comparisons. Quantum technology outcomes are not reducible to their inputs which seriously limits the ability of governments to identify ethical or operational problems. If we are going to have quantum for social good, I suggest that we push our thinking and vocabulary further. My second provocation calls for a theoretical leap into this new realm with an ethical qubit, or quantum bit. This could move beyond binary thinking linked to Newtonian physics and limits to moral imaginations. If a bit is based on 1s and 0s, and a quantum bit is the probability of 1s and 0s, could we imagine probabilistic assessment of the potentiality of beneficence? Maybe a quantum ethical turn dispels the governing compulsion to control through binary categories. Quantum for the social good is waiting for developments in social theory.

Keywords: Quantum computing, Regulation, Ethics, Social Good

JEL Classification: L5, Z18

Suggested Citation

Washington, Anne, Quantum for Social Good : Ethical Qubits and the Regulatory State (June 24, 2021). Quantum Meta-Physics: Heuristics . Aesthetics . Ethics. The Centre for International Security Studies 6th annual Q Symposium, University of Sydney. 24-25 June 2021. Quarantine Station., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3878492

Anne Washington (Contact Author)

NYU Steinhardt ( email )

New York University
Steinhardt School
New York, NY 10003-711
United States

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