Every Friday, I present a topic or question for our merry band of thinkers, leaders, and pirates to discuss in an open thread. Here is this week’s conversation starter:
Google wants to build a “useful, error-corrected quantum computer” within ten years, according to a company blog post. Question: What do you think would be the implications of a private company achieving this innovation before a government could do so (in the US, China, or elsewhere)? Would that be significant or no big deal?
Google wants to build a “useful, error-corrected quantum computer” within ten years, according to a company blog post.
Question: What do you think would be the implications of a private company achieving this innovation before a government could do so (in the US, China, or elsewhere)? Would that be significant or no big deal?
If Quantum computers are as good at predicting probabilities of future outcomes of an event, as some say they will be, it would be a huge deal if a private company did it before a government. Whether it would be a better or worse outcome, only the computer can predict…..I for one, don’t trust Google!😀
Of course it is a "big deal" no matter who does it. Quantum implies(demands?) replicating AI so at the earliest stages MUST be imbued with some sort of pro-human morality or functional laws. The abrogating of these laws(military use) would be a very slippery slope.
The government generally contracts private companies, so it’d really be a matter of rights. I don’t trust government and I don’t trust Google.
You can patent a physical thing or process. You can copyright literature or a work of art. You can't do either with knowledge, and that really matters nothing to anybody. What good is knowledge anyway, unless you use it for something? Using it means making something you can patent or copyright. If you acquire new knowledge, you can't share it without giving up potential right to any benefits of it if you don't incorporate it into some new thing, literature or work of art and get it patented or copyrighted. So, if you acquire new knowledge, the only way to keep it yours is to keep it to yourself and say nothing to anybody. Don't share it and, maybe die with it, in which case it dies, too, with you. But then, you get no tangible benefit from it. So, if you divulge it, do it with something you have patented or copyrighted. Knowledge, all by itself, once divulged, is public domain.
A private entity innovating a quantum computer, once it is patented and copyrighted (It has both hardware and software, doesn't it?) leaves all of us free to do something about it if that entity starts using it for evil. Government might be the most effective response. But, if government itself, of any kind, innovates it and starts using it for evil, it's much harder if not impossible for anybody to do anything about it. There's more to say about it, but this is a start.
A hard question to think about. Best model is perhaps the never ending competition between offensive and defensive arms. If a quantum computer turns out to be as powerful as it is believed it will be, what will keep it in check? People can turn against a corporation and undermine the company's ability to drive income, perhaps limiting the extent to which they apply their capability. The US government properly motivated has some ability in this area also. By comparison, there are examples of overreach in every government and I think there are more forces that will check the power of the US government as compared to the Chinese government. So, likely I prefer the first possessor of this capability to be Google, US gov't, Chinese gov't.
Looking further, once the ice is broken others will develop the capability; that is inevitable. The bigger challenges will come when rogues get access to the capability and hopefully the development of the first will spawn the development of security measures that can defend against such capabilities. But, I'm not sure this isn't largely wishful thinking as the recent pipeline event illustrated. That is, even when defenses exists they may not be uniformly adopted where needed.
Ultimately, big deal, but not an existential threat. That would come from unwillingness to adapt to our evolving technological environment.
Expecting a government to be first in technology is so 1950's or 1960"s. Then governments were pouring fortunes into technology and "discovering" new and advanced technology. Now there are private and public held companies that have more money than three-fourths of the countries on the globe and are very capable of "discovery" of new technologies. To the question of China or Google building the computer first, I'm not sure which would be more detrimental to the US.
Why would expect the government to be first?
Perhaps the quantum computer could run an AI that would solve the cryptography problem.
Whether this goal is achieved in the U.S. or China, it will be reached by a company, not a government. That's not to say the company won't be funded in part by the government. The code-cracking implications are serious, so whether it's an American or Chinese company certainly matters. In the long run, the scientific implications are yet more important.