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LIFE MATTERS: Quantum AI: Boon or Bane?

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By Dr. Dencio S Acop

The newest development in mankind’s ever-developing discoveries is quantum artificial intelligence (QAI). It is defined as a ‘new field that combines quantum mechanics and artificial intelligence (AI) to develop new algorithms and models. QAI uses quantum computing’s computational advantages to help achieve results that classical computers can’t.’ The march forward of technology has brought so much wonders benefiting mankind. However, it has also accelerated processes endangering man’s well-being. In this regard, perhaps man ought to exercise some caution in the administration of his affairs for his own good. Some thoughts along this line are in order. First, what are the benefits of quantum AI? Second, what are its dangers? And third, what ought to be the world’s actions moving forward with quantum AI? 

First, what are the benefits of quantum AI? Google tells us that ‘speed and efficiency’ toward ‘solving complex problems’ are quantum AI’s main benefit. ‘Quantum AI algorithms can process vast amounts of data and learn exponentially faster .. Quantum AI unlocks the potential to solve problems intractable for classical computers.’ This new field can therefore advance man’s quests in finding answers to every human problem where none existed before. It is a much welcome development and quite staggering in the promise it brings. Just imagine how it can solve once unsolvable problems in math and science that can be applied to any field of human endeavor. The bureaucracies that have been stymied by limited knowledge and capacity can now function in ways that can benefit the greatest good for the greatest number. They include those responsible for advancing man’s health and well-being, longevity, quality of life, defense and security, etc. Perhaps, the most exciting area that awaits this kind of progress is health. Quantum AI may be able to find cures for diseases that have plagued man for centuries. If man plays his cards right in this regard, the world may yet become a much better world than it is now.       

Second, are there any dangers about quantum AI? If so, what are these? Toby Ord, Tom Bilyeu and Ian Bremmer are unanimous in pointing out that while quantum AI has unspeakable potential, it too has enormous risks for mankind. The latter two for instance argue that the weaponization of magnified algorithms through quantum AI will intensify the spread of false narratives siloing the world into fragmented catastrophe. The magnified spread of false information could mask various agenda, hype up party lines, and hide not to be revealed truths. Magnified algorithms create silos of massive fragmentations resulting in confusion, chaos, and anarchy. As societies fragmentize, nations lose their grip. Bremmer and Bilyeu discussed that the magnification of these silos by quantum AI will ultimately pull individuals away in a direction far away from uniting. As diverse smaller narratives get magnified and even more fractured, the larger shared narratives of nations and institutions get weakened until they are diminished altogether. This unfortunate development, where truth becomes insignificant, threatens all that mankind has so far achieved. This implosion of man’s achieved wisdom and values through the centuries is giving way instead to a cyberworld where hacking online criminals take center stage. When quantum AI goes full-blown, the cybermarket will usher in a ‘gold rush’ where cybercriminals become empowered through malware, hacks, and illicit data to target any vulnerable industries and institutions to steal and rob. Soon thereafter, as the multi-billion illicit drug industry did to the world, government officials and governments themselves, enticed both by bribery and corruption as well as the national interest (paradoxically), will inevitably co-opt the criminals themselves to further national security. It does not take much imagination to foresee where quantum AI is leading the future in this regard. Word is that AI will be transformative to governance within 5 to 10 years. Quantum AI has the capacity to quickly decrypt traditionally held trade secrets and it will only be a matter of time when geopolitics, new bio-weapons, and even future currency like bitcoin, fiat money, and any digital currency are impacted. 

And third, what ought to be the world’s actions moving forward with quantum AI? While efforts are being made to establish regulations among eventual information providers of quantum AI, initiatives are falling away empty as quantum AI and values associated with it are unchartered territory. The Biden White House has recently convened a meeting among the leaders of seven AI companies in an effort to establish some kind of governance structure leading forward. No such rules of the game could be arrived at. It wasn’t surprising as the field is new and not even the White House has the answers. After all, what are the values associated with AI? Will AI have any accountability? How about credibility? Even today, the world is already faced with a deluge of false narratives going all around the internet. Information users who are not keen on discerning refereed information from false ones are prone to disinformation. The powers of governments today are diminishing. Those of unaccountable wealthy individuals and companies who run today’s sources of information have grown relatively more powerful. While media is the third estate and a boon to humanity, its purveyors can also be a threat if and when they do act not in furtherance of the common good and global security. The scope of concern in the arena of quantum AI is alarming as it is total as this new field will, in a magnified way, quickly accelerate the superiority of wisdom in every area of global competition – economically, politically, militarily, and psycho-socially.  

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