By IQT News posted 10 Sep 2021

(Science.Business.Net) The world needs an international expert body to advise governments on the safe and ethical development of quantum technologies, mirroring efforts to create global oversight of artificial intelligence, experts told a Science|Business conference.
Creating a global ethical framework over the use of the technology is essential, said quantum expert Ian Walmsley, provost of Imperial College London. “That seems to me to be an area where we absolutely need some collaboration, with as wide a circle of friends as we can possibly have, so we get an agreed set of principles,” he told the conference.
One possible model is the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI), promoted by French president Emmanuel Macron and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and launched in 2020. It aims to link up experts and policymakers to discuss not just ethical issues in AI but also areas like data sharing and research collaboration.
“I think that that would be a good idea,” said Walmsley. “Certainly the leaders of the national programmes could self-organise to start to do that.”
Yuko Harayama, executive director of Japan’s RIKEN research network, who sits on one of the AI partnership’s working groups, agreed it would be a “good idea to have a GPAI version for quantum.”
Although the technology is still in an embryonic state, the geopolitical dividing lines over quantum are already being drawn, with questions over who states and national funders should work with, and at what level of technological readiness.
Creating a global ethical framework over the use of the technology is essential, said quantum expert Ian Walmsley, provost of Imperial College London. “That seems to me to be an area where we absolutely need some collaboration, with as wide a circle of friends as we can possibly have, so we get an agreed set of principles,” he told the conference.
Another key question is drawing the line between early stage, more theoretical research, where global collaboration is seen as less problematic, and applied work to create real world applications, at which point states might want to hide the results from rivals.
“Early stage collaboration, followed by late stage competition, is potentially a recipe that will lead to the best impact for this technology,” said Walmsley. “I think you can probably push the collaboration to a significant TRL [technology readiness level], if you’ve got proper ways to manage that intellectual property,” he said. “Certainly up to demonstration and in some cases a little past demonstration.”
But Harayama said that “geopolitical factors” are now interfering with this traditional distinction between early and late stage research. “Even from the beginning, some countries are reluctant to make open collaboration, keeping some research institutes within,” she said, though she did not specify which countries she was referring to.

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