As with all new disruptive technologies, strong policy guardrails need to be put into place to ensure that advancements can be beneficial to society, and avoid facilitating violations of privacy and well-being. What began as a technological issue can quickly become one of justice if left unchecked.
Rather than treating societal, ethical, legal, and policy considerations as an afterthought, as has been the case with past technologies, NexQT has the opportunity to lead the way by prioritizing these considerations as a critical pillar of its research strategy for quantum science and technology. While law and public policy have traditionally struggled to keep pace with scientific and technological advancements, there are now impact assessment techniques available that can be used to proactively gauge the transformative impacts of quantum science and technology on society and develop appropriate responses. This represents a significant departure from previous transformative technologies such as the Internet and machine learning, where socio-legal impacts were only considered after the fact.
To successfully manage the ethical, social, legal, and public policy implications of quantum science and technology during this early stage of development, it is essential to facilitate dialogue between experts in these fields. This will help to develop a deep understanding of the underlying principles of various quantum technologies, including sensing, computing, and communications, and evaluate their potential impacts. When existing laws are insufficient, interdisciplinary collaboration will be necessary to ensure that quantum technologies serve the greater good by developing effective regulations and policies.