Quantum Supremacy in the Age of the Pandemic: Ethical Dilemmas

Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesInvited talk


Gogbot is an annual digital arts and science festival, this year held in Enschede, the Netherlands. Originally focused on the theme of "quantum supremacy", it was adapted in light of the global coronavirus pandemic. In this symposium, held on Sept 12th 2020, Claudia Pagliari described some of the ways in which data science and artificial intelligence have been deployed during COVID19, including in areas such as epidemic forecasting, drug/vaccine discovery, clinical prioritisation and viral genomics. She speculated on what responses to a similar pandemic might look like in a future, quantum-enabled world, such as through precision prediction, hyper-personalised treatments, empathic robot doctors, and language mining/replication technologies like GPT-3. A key theme of her talk was the ethical dilemmas presented by such technologies; particularly the potential for quantum computing to shift Oracle-like power to an elite few with the resources to deploy these machines and the massive-scale, multi-source data to feed them. She also discussed whether we risk becoming dependent on unstable systems and impenetrable multi-layer algorithms that could automate bias and discrimination by rationalising the translation of data-driven 'truths' into actionable inequalities, and the mediating role of trust and governance. 
Period30 Sept 2020
Event titleGOGBOT 2020: Quantum Supremacy in the Age of the Pandemic
Event typeConference
LocationEnschede, NetherlandsShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Quantum Computing
  • Quantum Supremacy
  • Big Data
  • AI
  • Ethics
  • Data Ethics
  • Digital Ethics
  • COVID-19
  • Pandemics
  • Future of Health