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Quantum Computing Scientists Call for Ethical Guidelines


A group of quantum computing experts are raising ethical concerns about the technology’s potential to accelerate human DNA manipulation.


A group of quantum computing experts, including scientists and company executives, want to raise ethical concerns about the technology’s potential to create new materials for war and accelerate human DNA manipulation.


“Whenever we have a new computing power, there is potential for benefit of humanity, [but] you can imagine ways that it would also hurt people,” said John Martinis, professor of physics at University of California, Santa Barbara, and former chief scientist of quantum hardware at Google.


While quantum computers are still in their early stages, it is important to begin discussing the potential benefits and drawbacks of the technology and find a way to balance the two, he said.


A commercial-grade quantum computer hasn’t been built yet, but startups and tech giants including Google, Microsoft Corp. and International Business Machines Corp. are racing to commercialize the technology.


For example, financial services companies are preparing for a time when a powerful quantum computer could break some of the most widespread cryptographic methods currently used in cybersecurity.






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