Spookytechnology and Society

October 12th, 2007  |  Published in All, Blog, Essays, Highlights, Technology and Society

Spookytechnology and Society: Understanding and anticipating the second revolution in quantum-designed technologies

Download the article this summary is based on: C. Tahan, Spookytechnology and Society, submitted for publication.
The original preprint can be found on the arxiv (Oct 12, 2007): arXiv:0710.2537.

• tahan.com/charlie: Technology and Society
• Wikipedia: quantum physicsquantum entanglementquantum computer

Some early press on the preprint
PhysicsWorld: “Spookytechnology” anyone?[PDF]
WIRED: Spookyweapons [PDF]
New Scientist: ‘Sexy’ name for spooky tech

Many technologies we take for granted today, from computer chips to CD players to photocopiers, couldn’t have been designed without the basic understanding of quantum physics developed in the 1920s. The second phase of quantum-designed technologies take advantage of the less-understood and largely swept-under-the-rug properties of quantum mechanics. Quantum information technologies including quantum computing and communication are the big examples. All this has been said before, and in better fashion.

The thesis of Spookytechnology and Society developed over the past few years from my work in Nanotechnology and Society education and my physics research in quantum computing and quantum condensed matter technology. I believe the history of nanotechnology is pertinent to considering the future interactions between the advanced quantum technologies and society. My goal is to try to bring some of the societal considerations taking place in the Nano+Society community forward to the incredibly exciting developments in quantum information science and related fields. This paper not only acts as a proposal for new terminology (which may be controversial for some) but more importantly tries to initiate a framework for considering the educational and societal issues in the physics community, before the science fiction or popular culture can distort the reality, as happened with nanotech. It also attempts to bridge the gap with the science and technology studies community, who will be a partner with physics researchers and educators as quantum information and related technologies go mainstream.

Please see the paper with included further reading suggestions if you want to read more.


Spookytechnology and Society

New technologies based on the exploitation of so-called “second order” quantum phenomena – such as quantum entanglement – deserve a public-friendly, rational, and sexy name. Spookytechnology is that unifying term. From historical and motivational perspectives, this name has greater value than the many variations of quantum this and quantum that presently used. As many already believe, the pursuit of spookytechnology has profound implications for the development of the physical and information sciences and ultimately for society at large. Spookytechnology will find its place in the increasingly dense line of major technological revolutions of our time: quantum, info, bio, nano, spooky.

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