The Expert Panel on the Responsible Adoption of Quantum Technologies
Quantum technologies offer opportunities to harness the properties of quantum mechanics for a breadth of applications, many of them novel. Though many quantum technologies are several years away from reaching market, it is believed that they have the potential to revolutionize many industries as they reach widespread commercial availability. Domestic industries will need to adopt these technologies if they wish to remain globally competitive, as will governments hoping to ensure national and economic security, public safety, and the integrity of critical infrastructure. To date, Canada has made noteworthy investments in the research and development of quantum technologies but has focused less on mechanisms to stimulate their diffusion and adoption.
Canada has a number of potential strategies for stimulating the adoption of quantum technologies. They include public-private cooperation mechanisms, such as public-private partnerships and advisory boards; regulatory oversight that encourages competition and establishes standards for privacy and security; industry-led efforts to provide professional services and establish regional innovation hubs; and policy reforms to expand and diversify a quantum-ready workforce.
The adoption of quantum technologies also carries significant ethical, legal, social, and policy implications. These include potential threats to data security and digital infrastructure, anticompetitive pressures by market-dominant firms, mass surveillance and privacy loss, regulatory uncertainty, inequitable access to technology, and social challenges related to employment and public trust in science. In order to maximize the benefits of quantum technologies while mitigating potential risks, responsible approaches to adoption should use state-sanctioned and self-regulating measures – including quantum impact assessments, soft-law mechanisms, and consultations with stakeholders – to anticipate the effects of technological change.
Quantum Potential explores the commercialization potential of quantum technologies, articulates Canada’s position within the global quantum value chain, and examines those conditions and policy levers that might promote their responsible adoption.
National Research Council Canada and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
In light of current trends affecting the evolution of quantum technologies, what opportunities and challenges do these present in Canada?
As they become commercially available, quantum technologies may have applications in a broad range of sectors, creating significant micro- and macro-economic benefits for both individual industries and the Canadian economy. As with other technologies, quantum-enabled solutions also bring risks that could negatively affect the lives of people in Canada. In 2023, Canada published its National Quantum Strategy (NQS), to provide guidance for the development of a national quantum ecosystem. The NQS focuses primarily on the development and production of quantum technologies, and less on processes for encouraging their diffusion and adoption. While there are potential mechanisms to stimulate the adoption of quantum technologies, maximizing their uptake also requires minimizing their attendant ethical, legal, social, and policy challenges.