Quantum-ELSPI Topical Collection Article: Own the Unknown: An Anticipatory Approach to Prepare Society for the Quantum Age

Quantum technology promises to shift the boundaries of what machines can do. Advancing our capacities to acquire, process and transmit information, quantum technology has the potential to impact nearly all domains in society. Therefore, we should start anticipating the future role of quantum technology and the ethical, legal, social and policy implications that come with it. One way of informing ourselves about how to do this is by making use of historical analogies. The Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR) developed a framework for embedding so-called system technologies into society based on a historical analysis of how society dealt with such technologies in the past. In this article, the conceptual framework of system technologies is reinterpreted as an anticipatory strategy to prepare society for quantum technology and vice versa. The proposed strategy has five dimensions: (1) countering unrealistic perceptions (demystification), (2) investing in a facilitating socio-technical environment (contextualisation), (3) engaging stakeholders and civil society (engagement), (4) creating flexible frameworks (regulation) (5) and developing international ‘quantum diplomacy’ (positioning). By actively engaging in these processes, society enables itself to guide the development of quantum technology and its impact within society.

DATE: May 22, 2023
TIME: 9:10 am - 9:30 am
Eline De Jong
Back to top