The University of Sydney and Q Station
22-24 February 2019

A quantum race begs questions of beginnings, scale and boundaries. The field of quantum mechanics first emerged from a collaborative international race to explain, through the principles of uncertainty, entanglement and the wave function, how the microphysical world works. Laboratory validations were followed by a race to produce the first practical applications, including many of the technological markers of modernity, like thermonuclear weapons, transistors, lasers, LEDs and mobile phones. Quantum is now scaling up to the macrophysical, in a race to develop quantum computing, communications and artificial intelligence as well as to explain and model photosynthesis, bird migration, chemical reactions and most controversially, human consciousness.  Hyped by media, popularized in film, promoted by corporations and accelerated by states, the quantum race has generated new metaphysical debates about the ethics of AI, the role of surveillance and the nature of reality itself. QRP3 will explore the geopolitical power, historical parallels and negative as well as positive consequences of a quantum race.

Schedule

Thursday, 21 February

The Q Forum 

‘The Geopolitics of the Quantum Race’

Introduction: Duncan Ivison, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)

Moderator: James Der Derian, USYD/CISS

Speakers:

  • Stephen Bartlett, USYD/Physics
  • Ron Deibert, University of Toronto/Citizen Lab
  • Jairus Grove, University of Hawaii/Center for Future Studies
  • Nisha Shah, University of Ottawa/Political Studies
  • Ole Waever, University of Copenhagen/Political Science

Friday, 22 February

Panel 1 – The Quantum Race: Sprint | Marathon | False Start?

Moderator: James Der Derian, USYD/CISS

Speakers:

  • Benjamin Eggleton, USYD/Sydney Nano Institute
  • Joan Leach, ANU/Australian National Centre for Public Awareness of Science
  • Jingyun Fan, University of Science and Technology of China/Joint Quantum Institute

Panel 2 – Parallels:  Nukes | Space | Cyber

Moderator: Frank Smith, USYD/CISS

Speakers:

  • Nikita S.W. Chiu, University of Oxford/Centre for Technology and Global Affairs
  • Ron Deibert, University of Toronto/Citizen Lab
  • Wade Huntley, U.S. Naval Postgraduate School/National Security Affairs

Saturday, 23 February

Panel 3 – The Microphysics: Ions | Photons | Anyons

Moderator: Stephen Bartlett, USYD/Physics

Speakers:

  • Andrea Blanco-Redondo, USYD/Physics
  • Gavin Brennen, Macquarie University/Physics
  • Benjamin Brown, USYD/Physics

Panel 4 – The Macrophysics: Intelligence | Strategy | Hype

Moderator: Colin Wight, USYD/CISS

Speakers:

  • Abhijnan Rej, Security and Risk Consultant/New Delhi
  • Tara Roberson, ANU/ Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems
  • Toby Walsh, UNSW/Computer Science and Engineering

Special Presentation: ‘Perfect Weapon’ or ‘Quantum Geneva Convention’?

Speaker: David E. Sanger, New York Times/National Security Correspondent

Panel 5 – The Metaphysics: Ontological | Biopolitical | Conspiratorial

Moderator: Jairus Grove, University of Hawaii/Center for Future Studies

Speakers:

  • Scott Hamilton, Balsillie School of International Affairs/Environment and Resources
  • Peter Maravelis, City Lights/Events
  • Laura Zanotti, Virgina Tech/Political Science

Panel 6 – The Quantum Race:  Winners | Losers | Dark Horses

Moderator: James Der Derian, USYD/CISS

Speakers:

  • Stephen Del Rosso, Carnegie Corporation of New York/International Peace and Security
  • Nisha Shah, University of Ottawa/Political Studies
  • Ole Waever, University of Copenhagen/Political Science