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Quantum for the grand societal challenges 
Zeki Can Seskir (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology)
Pieter Vermaas
Astrid Bötticher (University of Innsbruck)
Send message to Convenors
Christopher Coenen (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT))
Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

Quantum technologies (QT) promise revolutionary transformations in computing, communications, and sensing. Others add that these transformations are of value for addressing the Grand Societal Challenges. In this panel, we explore and scrutinize these latter narratives.

Long Abstract:

Quantum technologies (QT) promise revolutionary transformations across sectors, from computing to sensing. These innovations, such as quantum computers and quantum sensors, often represent modern iterations of existing technologies. A pertinent conversation within the QT community is the relevance of QT to Grand Societal Challenges (GSCs) like climate change and global inequalities.

The narratives surrounding QT are diverse. This open panel aims to critically evaluate these, particularly their alignment with the GSCs, therefore we invite submissions focusing on the relation between QT and GSCs. A list of potential topics (though not exhaustive) follows:

1. Given that we are at an early stage in the development of QT, ELSA (Ethical, Legal, and Social Aspects) provides a foundation for understanding and navigating the implications of QT as they evolve. Yet some critics view ELSA as a Western-centric approach and a socio-technical imaginary of its own as the meta paradigm insists on a “good” quantum-enabled global future. How should ELSA of QT be approached?

2. The Collingridge dilemma in QT: Considering the uncertainty characteristic of emerging technologies, there must be contemplation on effective governance and regulation of QT. How can the risks and uncertainties associated with QT be managed while promoting innovation? Within these frameworks, the focus is on understanding how risks and uncertainties linked to QT are being addressed and structural frameworks and process designs are employed.

3. Claims and use cases for "Quantum for Good": There are numerous proposed applications of QT that aim to address GSCs and contribute to the betterment of society. However, these claims require rigorous scrutiny and validation. We seek studies that critically assess the "Quantum for Good" initiatives.

Our panel endeavors to foster a comprehensive and critical dialogue on QT's trajectory and its potential societal contributions, leveraging the diverse 4S community for rich, STS-related inquiries surrounding QT.

Accepted papers:

Session 1
Session 2