Regulating Quantum Technology

Mauritz Kop

This research project will perform a detailed study of how to regulate second generation (2G) quantum technology, unifying the world of the large with that of the small. It intends to answer questions on how our innovation architecture should be constructed, so that benefits of quantum computing, sensing, simulation, and communication/internet – including quantum-AI hybrids – will be distributed equitably, and risks proportionally addressed. Building upon foundational work done on quantum and AI innovation policy mechanisms, national security strategy, standardization, benchmarking & certification, ethics, responsible quantum R&D, governance principles, technology impact assessments, data ownership and intellectual property (IP) in quantum software and hardware structures – published in flagship scholarly and peer reviewed journals at both sides of the Atlantic – the transdisciplinary research aims to develop an integrated, holistic vision on smart governance and regulation of quantum & AI infused digital transformation.

Since transistors below the 10 nm (nanometer) scale exhibit counter-intuitive quantum mechanical effects such as tunnelling and energy quantization, we find ourselves in a continuum moving from classical to quantum, where interwoven physical characteristics and legal designations are a matter of degree, and cannot be clearly separated from each other. Inevitably, more and more future devices shall be classified as quantum-AI hybrids. The resulting interlinked macro-micro level world has consequences for applicable legal regimes and regulations, bespoke innovation policy strategies, and for the quantum patent landscape. Hence our novel Law of Quantum field is multidisciplinary in many dimensions.

Besides enhancing the infrastructure for research & education in the quantum-ELSPI domain, the project aims to offer law- and policymakers an extended horizon of regulatory possibilities to efficiently balance the effects that today’s exciting advances in cutting edge science and technology have on fair trade, competition, IP, consumer rights, equity & equality, democratic rights, fundamental freedoms, national security, global power constellations, and innovation. It provides informed suggestions on how and when to apply variations on traditional interventions, when to be vigilant and when to be firm. The project envisages the presented ideas and viewpoints to be refined towards actual policies in the US, EU and Asia.

Research output shall offer evaluations and lessons learned from both history – including the notorious AI governance mistakes made – and adjacent fields such as machine learning, biotechnology, nanotechnology, semiconductors and nuclear. In addition, it gives recommendations concerning the ethical, legal, socio-economic, cultural and policy aspects of the anticipated impact of applied 2G quantum technologies on society, and educated propositions on how the Law of Quantum should be designed. Key concepts are the qualitative and quantitative exceptionality of quantum mechanical effects (the underlying counter-intuitive physics of quantum information science), intellectual property, fair competition, market power, responsible entrepreneurship, quantum education, workforce & talent, codes of conduct, product certification, life cycle auditing, international standards, national and economic security, evidence-based sustainable innovation policy, distributive justice, democracy, human rights, values based design, smart technology regulation, and the Quantum Governance Act.