25 January 2022

A new discussion paper from Sydney Quantum Academy and KPMG Australia calls for greater understanding of potential impacts, public engagement, and the development of an ethical framework for quantum technologies.

Next-generation quantum technology promises to unlock new computational capabilities delivering significant advantages for solving certain types of computational and information technology problems including simulation, machine learning, optimisation, and secure communication.

“We’re excited by the potential for quantum technology to help solve some of society’s greatest challenges. But with powerful technology comes great responsibility,” says Professor Peter Turner, Sydney Quantum Academy CEO.

The Australian government’s announcement in November identifying quantum as a critical technology and the development of the national quantum strategy, provide a unique opportunity to bring responsible development and use of quantum technology to the national agenda.

“There are numerous initiatives underway internationally, but it’s important we have this conversation locally and develop an approach which makes sense for the Australian context,” adds Professor Turner.

The paper titled ‘Responsible Quantum: Starting the Conversation’ draws from a roundtable discussion with a panel of experts including scientists, ethicists, industry leaders, and legal professionals held in October and facilitated by KPMG. It identifies several areas that industry, government, and community stakeholders need to consider as the technology matures including inequality of access, risks to privacy, and the emergence of quantum strategies for decision making.

“With quantum technology still in early stages of development we have a great opportunity to get ahead of potential risks by carefully considering use cases and their impact. If we do this well not only will we innovate responsibly, but we will also build trust in quantum and support its successful adoption,” says James Mabbott, Partner in Charge, KPMG Futures.

The paper recognises the need to learn from the experiences of technologies such as artificial intelligence by ensuring greater open discussion, diversity of views, and public engagement and education.

For Professor Gavin Brennen, Director of the MQ Centre for Quantum Engineering at Macquarie University, transparency is key to responsible development and adoption of quantum technology.

He adds: “For the uninitiated, there are unfamiliar and subtle concepts in quantum to learn. On the other side of the coin, researchers and developers are confronted with unexpected use cases. It's vital we have an open conversation between stakeholders that cuts through the hype so we can establish thoughtful industry standards and identify opportunities early.”

For Sydney Quantum Academy and KPMG this is the start of an important conversation and one which both parties hope will involve a range of stakeholders and represent all generations to ensure that quantum technology and its applications contributes to the prosperity of all Australians.

For media enquiries please contact Renee Williams, Sydney Quantum Academy on 0435 235 364 or renee.williams@sydney.edu.au or Ash Pritchard, KPMG on 0411 020 680 or at apritchard2@kpmg.com.au.