Any major technological advance brings with it concerns about its societal impact. Business leaders can mitigate pitfalls by developing a strategy to address these concerns before they arise.
This can be done by establishing frameworks for responsible and kind technology translations, and equitable access. Focused projects and initiatives can shape both global and contextualised discourses on these issues.
Ethics of Quantum Computing
As with any major technological advance, there are important questions of justice and benefit that must be considered before quantum technology becomes commonplace. This is a unique opportunity to establish an ethics framework, ensuring that the development of this revolutionary technology is in line with societal values.
Another ethical concern is the potential impact of quantum computing on employment, as it may replace human labor in certain sectors. This could create new inequalities and have significant social implications.
Finally, it is crucial to consider the impact of quantum computing on privacy and security. With cases of deep fakes on the rise, it is essential that this technology be developed with transparency and integrity in mind.
The most effective time to address these concerns is during the design and development phase. Business leaders and academics need to work together to set up an ethics framework for quantum technologies, and build structures that ensure responsible innovation. This is vital to the long-term success of quantum technology and its societal benefits.
Ethics of Quantum Technology
As quantum technology evolves and reshapes our world, new business opportunities will present themselves in diverse sectors. These range from expediting drug discovery to optimising supply chains. However, a plethora of new ethical concerns will also emerge. These may include the tampering of human DNA; the ability to create X-men via recombinant genetics; or the possibility of military applications that can use quantum computing to assemble weapons.
Unlike existing technologies, quantum technology must be governed by specific rules and principles due to its underlying nature. Framing these will require a multidisciplinary team that includes physicists, ethicists, and scientists.
The global community must take a proactive approach to quantum ethics and governance. This should begin with a deep discussion between chief technology officers and their teams about how this emerging technology fits into their long-term strategy and roadmap. This should be followed by a comprehensive risk assessment and governance framework. This is essential to avoid the type of mistakes that were made with COMPAS in the past, where technology was deployed as a quick-fix solution without considering the societal impacts.
Ethics of Quantum Hybrids
While quantum computing tends to get the most attention, there’s a suite of other quantum technologies, including quantum sensing, quantum communications, quantum imaging and quantum simulations. All of these can be leveraged through hybrid quantum-classical systems that integrate classical computers and software with quantum hardware, creating a kind of “best of both worlds” approach.
These hybrids, which Keesan likens to a GPU being added to a server, can be used to improve existing algorithms for optimization and computational complexity, such as the variational quantum eigensolver. They can also be applied to problems involving the ground state energy of small molecules, materials science and climate modelling.
As we work to harness quantum technology’s potential, it’s important to be aware of the risks. Stakeholders can proactively steward the co-evolution of quantum technology and society toward a purposeful destination by following the principles of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). These include responsiveness, inclusivity, reflexivity and anticipation and encourage integrating societal concerns across the entire research-development-innovation-adoption process.
Ethics of Quantum Artificial Intelligence
As quantum technology becomes more accessible to the mainstream, business leaders need to address a range of ethical concerns before they embrace the power of AI. Whether the goal is to protect privacy, ensure legal compliance or establish trust, it’s crucial that ethics are embedded in organisational DNA from the start.
The development of quantum AI will be a complex process. It will need to incorporate both classical and quantum computing, enabling machines to understand the world around them more precisely and work faster than before.
However, the same risks that have plagued conventional AI will be amplified: risks involving privacy, data security, algorithmic bias and explainability. It could also lead to monopolization through IP, winner-takes-all effects and a quantum divide during the introductory phase.
In the absence of transparency, a widening chasm between science and society will likely emerge. This will have the potential to degrade trust in businesses, with potential consequences for their bottom line and societal wellbeing.