ESEP 16:25-30 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esep00171

Quantum hocus-pocus

Karl Svozil*

Institute for Theoretical Physics, Vienna University of Technology, Wiedner Hauptstraße 8-10/136, 1040 Vienna, Austria, and Department of Computer Science, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The claims made in a manifesto resulting in the European quantum technologies flagship initiative in quantum technology and similar enterprises are taken as a starting point to critically review some potential quantum resources, such as coherent superposition and entanglement, and their dormant usefulness for parallelism and communication. Claims of absolute, irreducible (non-epistemic) randomness are argued to be metaphysical. Cryptanalytic man-in-the-middle attacks on quantum cryptography are well known to be feasible but hardly mentioned. If all of this is taken into account, a more sober perspective on quantum capacities emerges, but it may be ethically more justified than the ‘hype and magic’ that drives many current initiatives.


KEY WORDS: Quantum computation · Quantum information


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Cite this article as: Svozil K (2016) Quantum hocus-pocus. Ethics Sci Environ Polit 16:25-30. https://doi.org/10.3354/esep00171

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