In Greg Viggiano (ed.), Quantum Computing and AI: Social, Ethical, and Geo-Political Implications. Toronto, ON, Canada: University of Toronto Press. pp. 1-6 (forthcoming)

Colin Allen
University of Pittsburgh
Brett Karlan
Princeton University
Practical quantum computing devices and their applications to AI in particular are presently mostly speculative. Nevertheless, questions about whether this future technology, if achieved, presents any special ethical issues are beginning to take shape. As with any novel technology, one can be reasonably confident that the challenges presented by "quantum AI" will be a mixture of something new and something old. Other commentators (Sevilla & Moreno 2019), have emphasized continuity, arguing that quantum computing does not substantially affect approaches to value alignment methods for AI, although they allow that further questions arise concerning governance and verification of quantum AI applications. In this brief paper, we turn our attention to the problem of identifying as-yet-unknown discontinuities that might result from quantum AI applications. Wise development, introduction, and use of any new technology depends on successfully anticipating new modes of failure for that technology. This requires rigorous efforts to break systems in protected sandboxes, and it must be conducted at all stages of technology design, development, and deployment. Such testing must also be informed by technical expertise but cannot be left solely to experts in the technology because of the history of failures to predict how non-experts will use or adapt to new technologies. This interplay between experts and non-experts may be particularly acute for quantum AI because quantum mechanics is notoriously difficult to understand. (As Richard Feynman quipped, "Anyone who claims to understand quantum mechanics is either lying or crazy.") We will discuss the extent to which the difficulties in understanding the physics underlying quantum computing challenges attempts to anticipate new failure modes that might be introduced in AI applications intended for unsupervised operation in the public sphere.
Keywords technology  artificial intelligence  quantum computing  ethics
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

A Philosopher Looks at Quantum Information Theory.Amit Hagar - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (4):752-775.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Scientists and Citizens: Getting to Quantum Technologies.David P. DiVincenzo - 2017 - Ethics and Information Technology 19 (4):247-251.
What Have Google’s Random Quantum Circuit Simulation Experiments Demonstrated About Quantum Supremacy?Jack K. Horner & John Symons - forthcoming - In Hamid R. Arabnia, Leonidas Deligiannidis, Fernando G. Tinetti & Quoc-Nam Tran (eds.), Advances in Software Engineering, Education, and e-Learning. Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature.
The Potential Impact of Quantum Computers on Society.Ronald de Wolf - 2017 - Ethics and Information Technology 19 (4):271-276.
On the Role of Quantum Computing in Grounding Morphological Complexity.Martina Properzi - 2018 - International Journal of Current Advanced Research 7 (9):15444-15448.
The Initialization Problem in Quantum Computing.Subhash Kak - 1999 - Foundations of Physics 29 (2):267-279.
Microscopic and Macroscopic Quantum Realms.Moorad Alexanian - 2014 - Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 66 (2):127-128.
Quantum Hypercomputation.Tien D. Kieu - 2002 - Minds and Machines 12 (4):541-561.
Quantum Gravity on a Quantum Computer?Achim Kempf - 2014 - Foundations of Physics 44 (5):472-482.


Added to PP index

Total views
43 ( #263,440 of 2,507,716 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
27 ( #33,194 of 2,507,716 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes