Quantum Technology Anticipator

The mind-bending capabilities and societal implications of future quantum technologies are beyond human imagination, expanding the vistas of the mind. We do not yet know the biggest impact of quantum. The world should prepare for disruption caused by exponential quantum & AI driven innovation, taking a proactive stance. Anticipating governance tipping points, we must be agile.

This interdisciplinary Stanford Center for RQT Project monitors the state of the art in applied quantum technology in software (quantum code, algorithms and programs) and hardware (computers, sensors, and communication networks) structures across all economic and industrial sectors, quantum applications and domains, including experimental, low TRL applications and prototypes. In addition, the Project models opportunities, benefits and solutions, together with challenges, risks and threats (including countermeasures), to create an up-to-date quantum domain- and application specific database of such benefits and risks. The Quantum Technology Anticipator then connects these latest insights pertaining to promises, perils, and quantum’s qualitative and quantitative exceptionality to anticipatory governance strategies such as technology forecasting, horizon scanning, scenario planning, and impact assessment. These insights will be translated into recommendations to managing inherent dual use characteristics, and actively stewarding the societal impact of QT applications and use cases towards beneficial, inclusive and equitable societal outcomes on the regional and planetary level.

Comparing quantum computing, sensing and metrology platforms

The Project intends to compile and analyze current developments in the subfields of quantum computing, sensing and metrology. As humankind stands at the dawn of a new generation of quantum technologies, there has yet to crystalize a final method, a leading qubit approach (such as superconducting qubits, trapped ions, photons, neutral atoms, quantum dots, diamonds, topological qubits), as technical fundament underlying the dominant platform for scalable quantum computers. While companies have begun offering their hybrid quantum computers in the cloud and even claiming quantum utility, advantage and supremacy, it remains unclear what exactly the near term and intermediate capabilities of quantum computers will be or which particular quantum platform will bring the next big breakthrough.

By assessing technical differences of each platform, the Project envisions to determine the major technical, ethico-legal, socio-economic, and policy challenges existent in developing a scalable quantum computer. Take for instance critical raw materials and quantum devices demand and supply chains, export controls, first mover advantages, equitable access, intellectual property such as patents and trade secrets, and national security. A full analysis of the benefits and risks, the challenges and opportunities of each platform can help us create a proactive approach to governance and help train decision-makers with the relevant knowledge to stay informed in this transformative development and become quantum literate. Important for these questions will also be assessing the available infrastructure and educational hubs, which are currently forming centers in specialized research topics.

Anno 2024, quantum sensing technologies are closer to market readiness and uptake in terms of technology readiness levels (high TRL). The Project examines current and future quantum sensing applications across market verticals and economic sectors. By comparing these second generation nearfield and long-distance quantum sensors to the impact their classical predecessors have had, one can extrapolate -to large extent- the potential societal impact of these steadily emerging technologies.

By analyzing current and former public & private quantum research centers and national labs, the Project can determine what strategies are being developed in the competition for the leading quantum technology methodologies, including quantum-classical hybrid approaches. Through examining national and international quantum initiatives, the Project assesses the immediate goals and roadmaps being adopted around the world to making scalable quantum computers a reality. A deeper understanding of such developments -with a focus on the emergent platforms competing for technological supremacy and market dominance in the global quantum computing arena- can inform evidence-based policies that incentivize Responsible Quantum Technology & Innovation on the regional and planetary scale.

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