Regulating Quantum Technology

This research Project will perform a detailed study of how to sensibly 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 useful quantum computing, close by and large distance sensing, simulation, and communication/internet – including quantum-AI hybrids – will be distributed equitably, and risks proportionally addressed. The transdisciplinary research aims to develop an integrated, holistic vision on smart governance and sensible, well informed regulation of quantum & AI infused digital transformation. The Project builds upon foundational work done on Responsible Quantum Technology and Trustworthy, Human Centered, and Constitutional AI,  published in flagship scholarly and peer reviewed journals at both sides of the Atlantic. Special focus lies on innovation policy mechanisms, data ownership and intellectual property (IP) in quantum software and hardware structures, national security strategy, standardization including quantum internet protocol design, benchmarking & certification, philosophical frameworking, quantum ethics, responsible quantum R&D, governance principles, and technology impact assessments.

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 and legislative possibilities. These are required to efficiently balance the effects that today’s exciting advances in cutting edge science and technology have on fair trade, competition, IP & ownership, consumer rights, equity & equality, democratic rights, fundamental freedoms, national security, global power constellations, and innovation. In this light, the Project provides informed suggestions on how and when to apply variations on traditional interventions; when to be vigilant and when to be firm, combining a long-term vision with a mission-oriented approach. For example, how can implementing sensible STEM immigration rules help QT propel scientific progress, by building a skilled, diverse and inclusive quantum workforce? By what means can we cultivate quantum literacy and intuition from a young age across all members of society? Would overarching universal, horizontal rules for QT codified in a Quantum Governance Act work well in the US and the EU? Or would sector specific market vertical rules, combined with elements of an iterative, agile problem based legislative approach as exemplified by China’s Generative AI algorithmic rulebook -which tackles one problem at a time- fit better into Transatlantic exponential innovation ecosystems? How should one deal with regional differences in innovation policy strategies while facing global, planetary level challenges? The Project envisages the presented ideas and viewpoints to be refined towards actual policies in the US, EU and Asia.

The Stanford Center for Responsible Quantum Technology benefits from having a deeply interdisciplinary and accurate, up to date understanding of what state of the art quantum tech can and cannot do. Having this overview of the field is imperative to adequately inform global policy makers and the judiciary (judges and courts) on when to incentivize innovation to stay ahead of the game -avoiding the risk of falling behind and the considerable costs of lost opportunity- and where & when to put safety import, export and trade controls in place on a federal level to remove specific national security threats. While safeguarding global devices supply chains, as well ensuring access to as critical mineral & rare-earth elements, metals, oxides, and isotopes such as Helium-3, gallium and germanium, de novo nanocrystals, and unusual materials mostly found outside the U.S. and EU but required for most quantum components in quantum computers, data centers, sensors, and networks, to warrant American Responsible Quantum Innovation leadership. The Project will build QT regulatory trackers per jurisdiction and application domain; a regulated, market approved registry, database of quantum algorithms & quantum-classical hybrid algorithms; as well as trade, import & export control trackers.

Research output shall offer evaluations and lessons learned from both history – including the notorious AI governance mistakes made – and adjacent fields like machine learning, biosciences & genetics, VR, 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 including the underlying counter-intuitive physics of quantum information science, intellectual property, fair competition, market power, responsible entrepreneurship, quantum education, workforce & talent. The Project envisions to contribute to advancing QT codes of conduct, product certification, liability & insurance, 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.