Podcast | The Ethics of Quantum Computing

Post-Quantum World series

Podcast | The Ethics of Quantum Computing

Ever notice that giant tech companies seem to get press coverage for privacy concerns as often as they do for new product launches? How did we end up in this world of playing catch up with the ethical implications of technology? Quantum computing is still relatively new, but it will impact machine learning, encryption, and other areas that will have major repercussions on all our futures. During this podcast we discuss the building ethics into the field of quantum computing.

Guest Speaker: Faye Wattleton, EVP at EeroQ

The Post-Quantum World on Apple Podcasts. 

Quantum computing capabilities are exploding, causing disruption and opportunities, but many technology and business leaders don’t understand the impact quantum will have on their business. Protiviti is helping organizations get post-quantum ready. In our bi-weekly podcast series, The Post-Quantum World, Protiviti Associate Director and host Konstantinos Karagiannis is joined by quantum computing experts to discuss hot topics in quantum computing, including the business impact, benefits and threats of this exciting new capability.

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Protiviti Podcast Transcript Transcript

Konstantinos Karagiannis
Konstantinos

It seems like giant tech companies get press coverage for privacy concerns even more than for new product launches. How did we end up in this world of playing catch-up with the ethical implications of technology? Quantum computing is still relatively new, but its impact on machine learning and encryption alone will have major repercussions for all our futures. Can we avoid the mistakes of the past and build ethics into this field? 

Let’s get a little less nerdy on this episode of The Post-Quantum World. I’m your host, Konstantinos Karagiannis. I lead quantum computing services at Protiviti, where we’re helping companies prepare for the benefits and threats of this exploding field. I’ll hope you’ll join each episode as we explore the technology and business impacts of this post-quantum era. 

Our guest today is the cofounder and director of EeroQ Quantum Hardware. Welcome, Faye Wattleton.

Faye Wattleton
Faye
Thank you for having me.
Konstantinos Karagiannis
Konstantinos
We’re going to be talking about something we’ve never touched on in this show, and I think it never gets touched on in a lot of technological areas, which is why we have so many problems. We’re going to be talking about ethics, of course. I want to take a step back and let you explain how you got involved in ethics and technology, and then how it turned into ethics in quantum technology.
Faye Wattleton
Faye

Well, thank you for having me today, and for these very provocative questions that you sent my brain into overdrive thinking about. It was really a very interesting and simulating exercise to think about this discussion. And that caused me to think back to where I started, which was many years ago in the healthcare field. My background is in nursing — I have graduate degrees in nursing. If there is ever a field that has been ethically challenged because of its past violations, it is healthcare delivery. Biochemists and bioethicists have had to grapple with, and are still grappling with, some of the remnants of the lack of ethical considerations, which very often do not precede, but follow, technical and other kinds of scientific developments. My latter part of my career — the bulk of my career — is in the area of prevention, to alleviate the problems before they occur. 

Family planning and reproductive health is a field that by and large, is anchored in prevention and thinking about the consequences of future actions — again, an ethically challenged field that is a source and focus of enormous public debate right now. So, quantum seems like just another day at the office in considering — but not really, because of the implications of quantum and the potential to change the way we look at information and how we process information, and the dangers that are already before us in not prospectively thinking about the implications of the powers that we are discovering and are attempting to make accessible to a broad base of human development.

Konstantinos Karagiannis
Konstantinos
Yes, that’s a really good point, and of course, I definitely don’t want to touch on the medical field in this podcast. There’s a can of worms.
Faye Wattleton
Faye

No. But there are lessons to be learned about how the world can evolve when you don’t make an attempt to set a framework and to gain consensus. It goes eventually to very rigid regulatory imposition of your practices. We don’t need to get into it, but there are a lot of lessons to be learned.

Konstantinos Karagiannis
Konstantinos

Yes, definitely. And there are lessons to be learned in technology. Let’s talk about the mistakes of the ’90s. I feel like in that time period, we just dove into the internet, and it was just “Let’s do whatever we can!” And we went full speed ahead. And of course, besides the bubble-burst thing, there are other implications of what happened.

Faye Wattleton
Faye

Well, but we didn’t just dive right in. The internet came upon us from mid-century. That’s sometimes hard for people to recognize. But these tools, and the development of them, were well underway before the latter part of the 20th century, and here we are in the first quarter of the 21st century. It took people imagining what the potential would be for these enormous powers that we had gained and had evolved, and that were challenging laws of nature that even Einstein said were not possible. And it took the imagination of people to think ahead as to what this could possibly mean: “What happens if we develop this machine? What happens . . .?” “Oh, we develop that. We created that potential, that power. Maybe we can take it a step farther.”

But that’s, again, a lesson that I think we can learn from the ’90s — that there was a great deal of attention to development of the technology. And whatever the problems were —and are, because we are dealing with them now — we address retrospectively, as opposed to, what did we do before, and how do we engage more broadly in a way that builds consensus so that we can avoid some of the problems of the ’90s and the early 21st century? 

Konstantinos Karagiannis
Konstantinos
Yes, it was a failure of imagination. We created this network, we had these primitive-looking web pages, and who would’ve thought it could lead to any issues? Who would’ve thought there could be privacy implications. They were static billboards at that time.
Faye Wattleton
Faye

Well, there were people thinking about that, but their voices were not engaged. They were not sought after. They were considered fringe. They were considered obstructionists that were standing in the way of technology and development and advancement. So now, we grapple with it, and the problems are enormous, but that’s why this work now is so important — that we not sit by the wayside to say, “Well, let’s wait until quantum is really online and people are really using it, and then we’ll worry about it.” And I think that would be a mistake, and I would reflect that we have not learned from the sins of the past.

Konstantinos Karagiannis
Konstantinos

To me, it feels like at the time, we couldn’t understand all the possibilities ahead of us, so we didn’t worry about all the possibilities ahead of us, and I feel like with quantum, it’s similar. We know some of the big use cases — we know some of the things we want to use these machines for — but I still have this sneaking suspicion that we don’t even know 1% of what these machines are going to be used for within a few decades, and we’re right back to the beginning. Who would’ve dreamed of things like Facebook when we were first looking at Gopher pages or something?

Faye Wattleton
Faye

Well, we can dream about it now, because we’ve lived with Facebook and we’ve lived with other technology platforms, and so we can dream and we can think about, “Well, this is where we are.” What-ifs. And I think in the past, we were so focused on the development of the technology, and the people were engaged in the development of technology — kind of like the bioethical conundrum: The people who are doing the work, doing the research, their heads are down in the work, and then it gets released upon society, and there has not been an input to say, “Wait a minute — let me think about that a minute.” What-ifs. 

And I think there is an opportunity now to bring a broader circle of stakeholders to say what-ifs, and that is one of the initiatives that EeroQ has committed itself to — to convene experts from fields other than the quantum field, other than the world of physics, to say what it means and what are the implications for their particular area of work and expertise, and how might this enhance what they do, what are the problems they see that might arise that need to be at least addressed. There will be no big bang event so that suddenly, quantum is upon us. Just as the internet evolved over decades, so will quantum. It will not be immediately accessible to the whole world overnight — we wake up one day, and all of a sudden, our machines are in quantum. We have an opportunity to take advantage of this time.

Konstantinos Karagiannis
Konstantinos
And have any of you met yet in that context? 
Faye Wattleton
Faye

We have started talking to people who are interested in doing this. We produced a paper on quantum and ethics, and what we thought were the problems of not opening the circle for discussion and consideration. When you need to build consensus, that’s really hard and long-term work. It means that you have to open the circle if there’s to be consensus, and of course, there’s great aversion to there being immediate regulatory restrictions. Building a consensus is a step or two, or maybe even a leap, forward in people understanding the complexity of quantum physics and the application of the technology, which is a big challenge because there’s a whole world that has never heard the word quantum. 

The challenge is enormous, and before the pandemic, we had struck an agreement with Columbia through their Columbia seminars to bring in a small group of thought leaders to begin to frame out some of the aspects of the discussion that could inform a dialogue in the future, and we intend to get back to that work now that the forums are opening, making it physically possible for us to gather and begin the discussions.

Konstantinos Karagiannis
Konstantinos
I’m going to ask you about some of those in a moment, but the elephant in the room with ethics and quantum is probably one of the things you’re going to be discussing with them, and that’s, are we building machines that will render much of today’s encryption and cryptocurrency obsolete? That’s the big one. That’s the juggernaut. It’s inevitable. I feel like that’s where it’s going to go, and of course, we’re trying to now reverse-engineer post-quantum cryptography that protects against that. And that part of what we do here — we help companies prepare for that — but how do you feel about that?
Faye Wattleton
Faye

Well, I feel the genie is out of the bottle, and that kind of conversation is wishful thinking, because the science is moving forward, as does science in all sorts of examples of the past. There is no putting the cap back on the bottle.

This is now a worldwide phenomenon over which we do not have sovereign control, and we can take our destiny in our own hands, or we can put our head in the sand and say this is all unethical for you to undo my cryptography, but no, we are engaged in the frontier of moving science forward. And the challenge for us is, how do we make it for good and hopefully avoid the violations that we are grappling with this very day, as you and I are having this conversation? How do we avoid the questions around privacy and data mining, and invading information about individuals and keeping it and using it inappropriately, and keeping it beyond their useful intent, original intent, just for the purpose of making money because that’s the business model? 

We should be taking the lessons that we are grappling with and applying them for future consideration as we have greater power and greater speed to process information. On the good side of it, hopefully, there will be better drugs, better medication — pharmaceutical development. There will be an enormous amount of information that we now don’t have at our fingertips, and we do not have the time to wait for that quantum will give us the capacity to embrace and to investigate more effectively and more accurately. 

I was a part of a conversation earlier today about Alzheimer’s, and the information that it has taken years and years to accumulate and that has led to a complete rethinking about how we treat this devastating disease. I sat thinking that how useful quantum processing, if we were at that stage of development, might have been and how many lives might have been saved if we had had the benefit of this data 20 years ago — if we had known that Alzheimer’s is not a seven- to 10-year disease, it’s a 25-year disease. But that has only come about by painstaking labor with the instruments that are at our fingertips, but a future generation of processing would bring to our knowledge much more quickly.

Konstantinos Karagiannis
Konstantinos

When you’re discussing issues like this, what kind of output do you expect from this panel on the future, for example? Are they papers? What kind of calls to action? I’m curious about that aspect of it — what you hope to get the industry to do.

Faye Wattleton
Faye

First, I think helping people understand what quantum is, because this is a new word.

Konstantinos Karagiannis
Konstantinos

Yes. A daily challenge, absolutely. Every call, I’m like, “Wait, yes, does he know? Does she know? Who do I have to explain to?”

Faye Wattleton
Faye

You don’t have to go to the laboratory and do the experiments to be knowledgeable or to gain knowledge about the implications of the technology. As I said earlier, we produced and published probably the most comprehensive paper on ethics – ethical considerations and quantum — about three years ago. We intend to build on that. We intend to bring people from Earth sciences, from the medical sciences, from philosophy, from communications, from politics, from computer sciences, from a range of professions. 

There can be a primer on quantum, but more importantly, think about, well, if you have these powers that you can process data more effectively in your world, more extensively, more quickly — that information is accessible to you in your lifetime because some of the information in our lifetime, we will never know based on the current technology — what would you do with it, and how would it advance your particular area of expertise? What dangers would arise with that kind of knowledge? How could it be misused? How could it be used for the benefit of your profession, but also, how might it be misused, and what do you see within your profession that it would take to build a consensus around the ethical considerations of quantum in your profession? 

We hope to commission papers that would be of the thought-leader caliber — not just papers for academic consumption, but rather papers that would help people to think about what the implications might be and how we might begin to talk about bringing a consensus of good behavior with respect to quantum, and to think about who is going to benefit and who will have access to a better quality of life because of this knowledge and information power.

Konstantinos Karagiannis
Konstantinos

Yes, and to help bring it into more present-day examples, quantum is also going to do some things that we currently do, just a lot better, and machine learning’s a great example of that. I thought it would be good to frame a few questions here around the mistakes we’ve seen in machine learning, and how we can learn about what quantum might do to possibly exacerbate those. When you think about those general AI machine learning-type mistakes we’ve made, do you feel there’s anything being done to address the ethics of them now, and how will they be made way worse with something like quantum?

Faye Wattleton
Faye

There are a lot of folks who are talking about the implications of bias in machine learning — unintended bias, that rather elitist access to machine learning that that is not broadly available to others. The misuse of data and information that machine learning gives us, and the possibility of general access to AI and how that data gets used, is something that is creating a great deal of concern and a great deal of attention now. 

Even though it might be a scary moment for the folks who are involved in technology, it is time for a little shake-up for us to rethink these business models. Do we really, in the long run, want people to have access to our personal data ad infinitum because they can make money and they can use it and they can plumb it and they can push this data and pump the data for the purpose of the success of a corporate entity? Or is it used in a way that is intended? Having the power to do so doesn’t mean that you should do so. 

Nothing will be resolved overnight in a split-second decision. There won’t be a big bang, as I earlier mentioned. We should gain from our mistakes. We should think about, well, we made a mistake in terms of not being more careful about the limitations of artificial intelligence and the data that is kept, and we needed more framework around that data in terms of what’s permissible. 

The Europeans have done a pretty interesting job around that fairly early on, and we could use their example, even though we have not embraced it as rigidly as they have circumscribed how personal data can be used. The greatest fear that people have is that their personal and private lives will be invaded by external forces over which they do not have control. That is certainly likely to happen when you don’t do the hard work of building understanding and consensus among trusted leaders and thought leaders who help to think through before the tragedies occur. Do we really need to have technology that begins to prep kids into Facebook Kids so that’s a pipeline for one corporation? What are the dangers? What are the benefits, and what are the dangers? It does takes some courage, because you’re pushing against the enormous corporate entities, but we’ve done that before. 

Again, I refer you to my medical background in terms of ground zero for the violations and the many examples of human rights abuses and inequity in access. If there’s anything that we have seen out of this pandemic, it is a lack of equitable access to healthcare and to wellness based on not having access to the technology. Look at the kids in poor neighborhoods who didn’t have access to the technology 

Even before the pandemic, I had participated in gaining conversations around “What if there is a pandemic?” People in healthcare communities do talk about that, but I don’t think anyone anticipated or imagined the implications for a whole sector of the population that very often is poorly understood and very often neglected. The cover came off in this particular crisis that we have been in with COVID-19. That’s an example of where we can do a better job of thinking and imagining what-ifs. 

Konstantinos Karagiannis
Konstantinos

Yes. I like to think that we’re at a point where we can make a difference early and learn from mistakes. With AI, sure, quantum machine learning will have the ability to handle way larger data sets one day, get us results way faster, maybe more accurately, and then we’ll have an advantage.

Faye Wattleton
Faye

Wouldn’t it be nice if it were just that simple? But it won’t be.

Konstantinos Karagiannis
Konstantinos

Yes, can’t we just now institute some safeguards that we never put there in the past? It’s almost like we have a chance to go back in time and do machine learning all over again.

Faye Wattleton
Faye

Well, that’s exactly what I’m saying. There’s a reason why they went out in the wilderness to say, “This is the way we’re going to behave in our labs. Let’s set some ethical standards for ourselves.” Say, “These are the things that we won’t do in DNA research.” I think there are lots of examples of grappling with ethical considerations in advancement. Quantum is not the first rodeo in advancement. Let’s be clear about that. It’s not the first time we’ve had major advancements that have had worldwide implications. We don’t need to start from go to think about how we educate and begin to think about the enormous task of education and creating awareness and understanding. The other thing is that we now live in a world where people have experience with technology. We’re not neophytes any longer, let alone beginners, but there’s a great depth of experience with technology. 

Building on that knowledge and that utilization — that enormous, broad-based utilization — we should take lessons from the past, because you are destined to repeat the mistakes of the past if you don’t pay attention to what we did in the past and move this forward with the development of quantum. People don’t have to go into the laboratory, as I said earlier, to do a quantum experiment to be able to conceptualize and to grapple with what it might mean in their particular focus of work.

Konstantinos Karagiannis
Konstantinos

We get some weird requests when it comes to our use cases and the proof of concepts at Protiviti that we work on for customers. One that keeps coming up is this idea of explainability — can you explain and test to regulators why a decision was made in that black box of machine learning? It would be fascinating if we could focus on explainability with quantum, and maybe do it right this time. Be able to show why a decision was made — show that it’s fair, show that everything was balanced.

Faye Wattleton
Faye

Or show that someone other than the creator of this technology had some input and was invited to have an opinion about the implications. That’s where we have an opportunity. I know there’s a great deal of conversation about that this is too early — the technology is still in its nascent stage of development. Just think about what we were saying even five years ago — that there’s no proof of concept — and how quickly the technology has galloped forward. You reach an inflection point in any development that chugs along at a snail’s pace — a small, primary level of work. Then there is a seminal point at which a trigger just sets everything into motion. I suspect that we will see that in this particular phase of our information-processing advancement as well. 

I’m not suggesting that there isn’t hard work — and very technical, highly technical work — to be done that just has to be done. Steps have to be forward, or followed as we forward our work, but it’s never too early to start thinking about the future. My whole career has been spent thinking about the future and preventing the disasters that can befall those who don’t think about the future. It wasn’t about quantum. I didn’t need to be able to explain to people, to women, how a particular method of contraception was made or produced with them for them to understand what this meant in their lives and to imagine the potential that they could control in their lives if they made a certain decision. 

That’s very simplistic and basic, but universally, the same principles apply. I contend that it is not too early to begin to think about it, even if we spend some time looking back at what we have done right in AI, what did we do wrong, and what did we do right in the biomedical considerations, and do we really want the kind of rigid regulatory processes to befall quantum that have befallen the medical establishment? Probably not. There’s a learning curve for the profession that is very important for there to be attention given.

Konstantinos Karagiannis
Konstantinos

It sounds like since you’ve dealt with all avenues, from medical to here — you’ve thought about society as a whole in different ways. So, what do we do now? How do we make sure that all of these advantages that quantum promises can benefit society as a whole? Not just about the fears of doing it wrong, but the benefits to make sure that everyone’s getting something out of this.

Faye Wattleton
Faye

Well, it’s hard work. It’s long-term work. It’s more than just our little sandbox here in America. It’s work that requires multilateral collaboration. Work in quantum is going on around the globe. It’s recognizing that you can’t ignore the efforts that a number of countries have made — sovereign commitments to the development of their quantum technology. The multilateral institutions need to be brought into dialogue as well. 

It’s an enormous task before us, and again, as I said a few moments ago, there’s a great deal of criticism there. We often hear criticism: “It’s too early. We don’t need to concern ourselves with that.” Nothing is going to be locked down, tick and tied, as the accountants would describe it, to be precise and rigid, but the engagement is what is really important — the recognition that part of the engagement is gaining an understanding about this new and really different technology that has the potential to reset the world in terms of access to information. That takes a long term to accomplish. It takes a lot of work and a lot of diligence. A lot of naysayers will say, “You won’t tell us what to do,” but the atmosphere has to be charged with the intent to bring as many constituencies as possible into the tenet of thinking and understanding about the potential for quantum computing.

Konstantinos Karagiannis
Konstantinos
That’s how it affects the world, but sometimes, also, I think, “Wait — this is a new industry.” Because it’s a new industry, do we also have one other possible reset here — one other thing that we can do right that we did wrong? Is there a way now that will better build diversity throughout the quantum stack in the industry from that side? Not just the people who are benefitting from it, but the people in it. It’s almost like you have a new chance here. There are no old boys’ clubs, for example. It’s a brand-new industry. How do you feel about that?
Faye Wattleton
Faye

Well, first of all, it’s not just an industry. It really is a sector of technology that will impact many industries. There is turbulence in the land around who is included and who is excluded, and the necessity that many voices and faces be permitted and be at the table and be a part of any advancement of human development.

If we want to speak of the industry, just take a look at the photographs in the industry, and it would appear that we are destined to repeat the patterns of the past. People who are working on quantum technology these days still are largely white men. I’m not. I’m an African American woman, and my sensibilities about the experience of being a member of a minority group perhaps creates the kinds of sensitivity and urgency that I feel — the necessity of bringing a broader circle of voices into the conversation if no other reason than to learn of the technology that is coming, even if they are not in a position to have great influence. Well, they might influence the person who does have the capacity to have impact. 

So, I don’t see this as an industry. I see that as an industry of people developing the technology, and even there, there are multiple ways in which the technology is being developed. Not everyone is pursuing the same pathway. 

As a part of EeroQ, we are in the electrons in helium. We are on that pathway as a singular path because we feel that it has the capacity to be the most stable hardware and to scale up more effectively than some of the other methodologies. There are many people on this path, on this journey, and different pathways. 

I feel that I can’t say enough that it’s important to see the circle of stakeholders beyond those who are creating the science and the technology. The science and the technology are largely led today by white men. There is some evidence that there are efforts being made to bring women in, but that’s about it. The industry does not look like the rest of the world. A lot of that probably has to do with who is trained in the sciences of engineering and physics and the other disciplines that are required for this development. So, it really is a mirror image on the lack of diversity throughout our society. 

Konstantinos Karagiannis
Konstantinos

I think this is an opportunity for a great reset. If we could better identify curriculums — I’ve worked with the Universities of Chicago and Maryland. We’re trying to get across to some places this idea of a curriculum that would yield a coder, someone who’s ready to contribute in quantum information science. Can we push that out? Can we lure diversity of all types? Male or female, every race — it’s an opportunity. That’s what’s exciting here. Let’s grab them while they’re young and convince them that they want to learn how to sling some qubits for the greater good.

Faye Wattleton
Faye

Right, but I think it has to be before college. It needs to start in primary school with the basic conceptual framework that we learn about math and science. Our children should be thinking about the future of the technology that they will inherit and the foundation for that. As I said earlier, I don’t think we should, in any way, underestimate the enormity of that task — not to produce the qubits, but to produce the people to get ready to use the qubits. That’s an enormous, long-term task. Yes, college is fine, but it goes back to primary school and the foundation that gets laid, that gets them into the programs that allow them to go through the door of a higher level of technological advancement, and the skills that will be required in the next few years. It’s not so far off.

Konstantinos Karagiannis
Konstantinos

Yes, I agree. Absolutely. I’m all for building that new workforce. I already see it. I’m extrapolating, and I know we’re going to need a lot of hands-on right here at Protiviti.

Faye Wattleton
Faye

Even if it doesn’t end up being in the workforce, just an awareness as a member of society, as a citizen of the world, as a participant in public policy formation. There are national security implications. The implications are vast that this will superpower artificial intelligence in a way that today we probably would not recognize. It’s not just a more complex math problem. It really does have a multitude of implications, and that’s the reason that a lot of work needs to be done broader than the development of the science. Even if the science, for some reason, lags and we haven’t been able to solve the vibration problems and the decoherence problems, it’s still a dialogue worth generating and worth thinking about — not just around quantum issues, but also around many of societal challenges and problems that we grapple with on a daily basis.

Konstantinos Karagiannis
Konstantinos

Yes — thanks. I was hoping to end with something easy that we can solve like that. That’s great. Something that we can figure out tomorrow.

Faye Wattleton
Faye

We don’t need to figure it out. We just need to work at it. We need to adapt as things developed, as the world develops. If we do nothing, that is the violation of the privilege that we’ve been given. If we work at something in your and my lifetime — and I’m much older than you — we will leave still a lot for people to do. Let us not say that we didn’t do anything, because we were waiting around until the right time. Let us say, rather, that we looked back to say, “Well, what are the standards, and can we expand and build on the ethical considerations” for which there is broad consensus and that have come about in some examples in very out and painful violations. 

We’re in the midst of one of those stages now— the reaction to the data utilization is very upsetting to people. Out of that, if we don’t prospectively think about what quantum might mean for personal data and privacy, we’re likely to have the kind of backlash that we’re in the midst of right now that invites greater scrutiny and greater regulation and greater restriction, as opposed to trying to think about it, and frame as saying, “Wait a minute — we gave some thought to that. Here’s how we think we might bade the rules of consensus as we move forward.” 

Now, some of that, of course, will be informed and designed through case law. There will be certainly challenges in the judicial sector. There will be challenges in the political sector. It’s very encouraging that the Biden administration has set up a White House office on quantum technology. There is a recognition of the breadth of this technology and its implications beyond just the design and the science of the technology.

Konstantinos Karagiannis
Konstantinos

Thanks for broadening this whole topic, because I’m sure people who are going to be listening to this are like, “I didn’t think of any of this.” I’d love to give them more to grab onto. I could, in the show’s notes, link the paper. Anything else you might want to share? Is there anything else you want to share?

Faye Wattleton
Faye

Yes. The title of our paper is The Time to Talk About the Ethics of Quantum Computing Is Now.

Konstantinos Karagiannis
Konstantinos

Nice and easy to remember.

Faye Wattleton
Faye
But most of all, it is not a subject that you put off for a later day. It should not be limited to those who are creating the technology. It should be broadened to those who have a stake in its application and its utilization.
Konstantinos Karagiannis
Konstantinos

Thanks so much for all of these great concepts. I really appreciate having you on.

Faye Wattleton
Faye
Okay. Thank you for having me. 
Konstantinos Karagiannis
Konstantinos

We recently added a new short segment here called “Coherence: The Quantum Executive Summary.” Let’s recap.

Quantum computing is not going to have a big bang-type moment. We’ll continue to see major advances, each with their own ethical considerations. The time is now to start having discussions around what stakeholders need to do to avoid the types of negative impacts found in past technological advancements. EeroQ is working on a new type of quantum computer we covered in a past episode but is clearly also concerned with ethics. 

Faye Wattleton is involved in pulling together participants from the industry to start having much-needed conversations and working groups. Consider getting involved. While quantum computing is part of a new sector, it’s already starting to suffer from a lack of diversity. Some of this is caused by the predominance of white males with advanced science degrees. PhDs take time, but there are some quick ways to increase diversity. The industry will need a lot of software developers with undergrad degrees, for example. 

It should be possible to start doing more outreach to get a diverse group of students of all ages interested in pursuing a curriculum that leads to employment in the field. We also need to do a better job of outreach to enable all types of citizens of the world to understand a new technology and how it may affect their lives in the future. 

There’s a lot to explore here. You can learn more by visiting the links in the show notes and starting with the paper The Time to Talk About the Ethics of Quantum Computing Is Now. 

That does it for this episode. Thanks to Faye Wattleton for joining today to discuss her work on the ethics of quantum computing, and thank you for listening. If you enjoyed the show, please subscribe to Protiviti’s The Post-Quantum World and leave a review to help others find us. Be sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram @KonstantHacker. You’ll find links there to what we’re doing in quantum computing services with Protiviti. You can also DM me questions or suggestions for what you’d like to hear on this show. For more information on our quantum services, check out Protiviti.com, or follow Protiviti Tech on Twitter and LinkedIn. 

Until next time, be kind and stay quantum curious.

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