Programme / Thematic session IV/d Making the most of quantum computers, inclusively and openly, to reach the SDGs

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Thursday / 8 DEC

17:00 - 18:30

Thematic session:
Thematic session IV/d Making the most of quantum computers, inclusively and openly, to reach the SDGs
Venue: Meeting Rooms 1.63-1.64

Quantum technologies have the potential to create profound changes to society, changing entire industries. The last decade has seen major breakthroughs, leading to an increase in investment from the private sector. The quantum pursuit is considerably fractured. Scattered technology and policy approaches tend to lead to a focus on a few technologies, in a few countries, in the hands of a few incumbents, all this among geopolitical tensions.

Despite technical progress and encouraging promises, real-world use cases for quantum computers are mostly aspirational, and will remain so if nothing is done to foster their development and use in a timely and open manner. Today, the experimented use cases are naturally those for which there is an immediate economic or geopolitical advantage, not those that will benefit the largest amount of people. There is little understanding of quantum computing impact on the UN’s SDGs and consequent economic opportunities.

Now is the time to anticipate. We must use the upcoming 10 years (i.e. the timeframe by which quantum computers will mature for real-life applications) to prepare humanity for equal and inclusive use of this powerful technological capability. This is also where multilateral actors enter into play and can considerably contribute.

To evaluate the contours of a global governance solution to address that issue, the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA) Foundation proposes an Open Quantum Institute, developed by leaders in science, diplomacy, business and civil society. Acting as an “honest broker” between the R&D, the quantum technology providers and the UN2030 Agenda, this initiative anticipates the readiness of all stakeholders to embrace the power of quantum computing once at full maturity. And to start mobilizing actors and stimulate an open “market” of users for quantum computers, GESDA together with the XPRIZE Foundation, have launched a "Quantum for the SDGs Contest".