Establishing a Legal-Ethical Framework for Quantum Technology


Publish Date:
March 30, 2021
Publication Title:
Yale Journal of Law & Technology (The Record)
Journal Article
  • Mauritz Kop, Establishing a Legal-Ethical Framework for Quantum Technology, Yale Journal of Law & Technology (The Record) (2021).
Related Organization(s):


Quantum technologies are rapidly evolving from hypothetical ideas to commercial realities. As the world prepares for these tangible applications, the quantum community issued an urgent call for action to design solutions that can balance their transformational impact. An important first step to encourage the debate is raising quantum awareness. We have to put controls in place that address identified risks and incentivise sustainable innovation. Establishing a culturally sensitive legal-ethical framework for applied quantum technologies can help to accomplish these goals. This framework can be built on existing rules and requirements for AI. We can enrich this framework further by integrating ethical, legal and social issues (ELSI) associated with nanotechnology. In addition, the unique physical characteristics of quantum mechanics demand universal guiding principles of responsible, human-centered quantum technology. To this end, the article proposes ten guiding principles for the development and application of quantum technology. Lastly, how can we monitor and validate that real world quantum tech-driven implementations remain legal, ethical, social and technically robust during their life cycle? Developing concrete tools that address these challenges might be the answer. Raising quantum awareness can be accomplished by discussing a legal-ethical framework and by utilizing risk-based technology impact assessment tools in the form of best practices and moral guides.