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Quantum technologies can potentially reshape our society, for better or worse. For instance, quantum simulations could play a pivotal role in combating climate change, yet they could also be exploited to develop chemical weapons. How can we ensure that our society benefits from quantum technologies while mitigating potential risks?

In a commenary titled "A call for responsible quantum technology," published today in Nature Physics, Urs Gasser of the Quantum Social Lab at the TUM Think Tank, along with co-authors Eline De Jong and Mauritz Kop, advocate for the responsible handling of quantum technologies and the establishment of guidelines. Based on an international interdisciplinary effort led by the Stanford Center for Responsible Quantum Technology, the authors introduce a framework for responsible quantum technologies that integrates ethical, legal, socio-ecological, and policy implications into the research and development of quantum technologies.

Developing suitable guardrails and governance frameworks for quantum technologies are among the main objectives of the Quantum Social Lab, co-directed by Urs Gasser and Fabienne Marco. Towards this end, the lab brings together an interdisciplinary community to examine, evaluate, and help shape the development and use of quantum-based applications, and promote responsible innovation.

"History teaches us that ethical, legal, socio-economic, and policy implications are often only an afterthought when a powerful technology has already made its way from the lab into the wild,” says lead author Urs Gasser. “Given the possible ramifications of quantum technology, we should not repeat this mistake and create guardrails while it is still malleable. Our call in Nature Physics invites the science community to help shape defining principles and practices.”

The full commentary on responsible quantum technology can be found in Nature Physics:

Read the commentary

Stephanie Hare joined us on the evening of 27 February 2023 to present the main topics of her book “Technology is not neutral: A Short Guide to Technology Ethics”. In her book, Stephanie Hare addresses some key questions surrounding modern digital technologies: One focus is how developers of technology but also society at large can seek to maximize the benefits of technologies and applications while minimizing their harms. Read our key takeaways from our discussion here. 

Some key take-aways from the discussion

Using a philosophical framework, she utilizes several different fields and approaches to ethics and philosophy to call attention to these issues. For instance, metaphysics points out what the problem needs to be solved, while epistemology helps us to ask about the relevant sources of knowledge to address these questions and problems. Political Philosophy, on the other hand, highlights the question of who holds the power to pursue these solutions, while aesthetics highlights how technologies should be designed and displayed. Ethics, finally, gives us answers to the question of what the inherent values are baked into technology. 

Throughout the discussion with Alexander v. Janowski and the audience, we addressed crucial observations on the design of technologies which we can make in our everyday world. Examples included how the size of many smartphones is fitted to larger, typically male hands, similarly to how airbags in vehicles have only been tested on mannequins that resemble the average male body. These observations lent credence to the ethical considerations of who and what entities do and should have control over the design and application of technologies. 

Overall, Stephanie Hare hopes that her book “hacks humans and human culture.” by contributing to the effort to inspiring people to see the biases and intentional or unintentional inequalities that technologies will take on from their developers if left unscrutinized.  

To learn more about Stephanie Hare, the book, and her other works, visit her website at  

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