Quantum Computing and the Legal Imagination
18 SciTech Lawyer 12 (2022)
5 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2022 Last revised: 26 Apr 2022
Date Written: April 1, 2022
Powerful and cost-effective quantum computers will soon arrive. The existence of quantum computers - and their special capacities - will stimulate a search for legal applications. Quantum computing - when deployed together with artificial intelligence - will
(1) enable new legal tools,
(2) permit modeling of complex social and economic relations that can be used to inform legal determinations,
(3) raise new legal, ethical and distributional challenges and
(4) stimulate the legal imagination to reach new - and initially strange - insights and understandings.
The implementation of quantum computing in law will depend on the location of quantum advantage, where quantum computers outperform conventional computers. Mathematicians can already teach us about the characteristics of certain problem types and suggest which of these will be favorable ground for quantum advantage. Lawyer-engineers will need to match the identified mathematical characteristics of decisions amenable to quantum advantage to real-world legal concerns. Quantum computing will drive further developments in operationalizing law and facilitating legal prediction. Many of these changes will take place ‘under the hood’ and will not demand a thorough understanding of quantum theory, but the practitioner will experience a different feel from the technology. Antitrust and bank regulation are examples of fields where quantum computing can be expected to have an important impact. Quantum computing, like the digital technologies that arose during the past 30 years, might have the unfortunate effect of exacerbating wealth and power differentials. That said, quantum computing will have a stimulating effect on our minds, including our legal imagination. It will lead us to look for new approaches, new ways of thinking about problems and their solutions, and new roles for law.
Keywords: artificial intelligence, quantum computing, computational law
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