Morning Brew - ☕ Quantum questions

How should the quantum world balance ethics and innovation?
Morning Brew June 22, 2022

Emerging Tech Brew

Arculus

Happy Summer. As temperatures heat up in the US, the Fed is working desperately to cool off the economy. And its efforts are widely expected to cause some economic pain: More than 60% of execs surveyed by the Wall Street Journal said they expect a recession in the next 12–18 months.

2021’s record-high VC funding, surfeit of SPACs, and high-flying tech stocks feel further away than ever.

In today’s edition:

🖥 How to take a responsible quantum leap
🪨 CarbonCure is making CO2 sequestration concrete

Hayden Field, Grace Donnelly, Dan McCarthy

QUANTUM COMPUTING

Walking on a technological tightrope

close up of a quantum computer Dianna “Mick” McDougall

With great processing power comes great responsibility. And quantum computing is already—at least on some specific measures—tens of millions of times faster than traditional.

As the early-stage field begins to build momentum, some experts are exploring a familiar balancing act in tech ethics: How can we ensure responsible development of the field without stifling innovation?

Remember: Potential applications for quantum computing, spanning critical fields like medicine and energy, are likely many years away, but the sector is growing fast. Google, Intel, Microsoft, Amazon, and IBM all have their own programs, and investors poured at least $1 billion into quantum-computing startups last year.

At this year’s World Economic Forum, academic and industry leaders wrote themes of governance and core values to guide quantum computing’s design and adoption.

  • Among the core values is “non-maleficence,” recommending that stakeholders ensure that “quantum computing does not put humans at risk of harm, either in the intended or unintended outcomes of its use, and that it is not used for nefarious purposes.” 
  • One example of such a potentially harmful purpose is that quantum computing could eventually allow hackers to break encryption.

Zoom out: Mauritz Kop, a Transatlantic Technology Law Forum fellow at Stanford University, stressed that even though the field is early, now is the time to codify ethical best practices.

“We were obviously too late for AI, and now [for quantum computing], we still have the chance to be in time before the technology gets locked in,” Kop told us. “So it’s always a common-bridge dilemma from when to interfere in the innovation process and steering things into the right direction by regulation, or controls, or embedding the values into the tech. All this did not happen for AI, and we can see the results around us.”

Keep reading about quantum ethics here.—HF

        

TOGETHER WITH ARCULUS

Can your crypto security do this?

Arculus

Security questions like “What city were you born in?” aren’t exactly what we’d call a foolproof authentication method for protecting your precious crypto. 

Meet Arculus, the crypto wallet that keeps your private keys safe and secure with 3-factor authentication.

Arculus was born out of 20+ years of experience developing leading-edge, secure payment technologies, giving you the power to protect your financial future.

Arculus isn’t like other cold-storage solutions. The app offers an easy-to-use interface and *doesn’t* make you toggle between screens or push tiny buttons on a USB drive. 

Just tap the card to the back of your mobile device with your Arculus Wallet app to enable transactions and get instant, safe access to your crypto.

Secure your crypto here.

CLIMATE TECH

CO(2)ncrete

image of carboncure tech in front of a carboncure concrete truck CarbonCure

By some measures, the world really is a concrete jungle.

Concrete is the most abundant man-made material on Earth—water is the only resource humans consume more of—because it’s durable, versatile, and relatively cheap. It’s also the single largest industrial emitter of carbon dioxide.

The outlook: Demand for concrete has tripled over the last 40 years, and experts expect it will only continue to rise in the coming decades. That means production of concrete will likely increase even as the cement sector needs to cut its emissions by at least 16% by 2030 to be on track for Paris Agreement goals.

Shrinking the carbon footprint of concrete requires either using less cement or reducing the carbon impact of cement production, Christie Gamble, senior director of sustainability at CarbonCure Technologies, told Emerging Tech Brew.

  • CarbonCure is one company that aims to lower the carbon intensity of concrete by engineering a scalable way to use CO2 as an ingredient in concrete itself.
  • The Canadian startup has raised $12.4 million since it was founded in 2007, with investments from Amazon and Breakthrough Energy Ventures.

CarbonCure’s tech doesn’t capture CO2 from the cement production but instead recycles CO2 captured by nearby industrial emitters such as ethanol and fertilizer plants, Gamble said. Its contribution is technology that injects CO2 directly into concrete, sequestering those emissions.

  • CarbonCure also sells carbon removal credits based on this permanent CO2 storage.

Zoom out: The company has a goal of removing 500 million tonnes of CO2 annually from the concrete industry by 2030—in the last year, the technology has avoided more than 75,000 tonnes of CO2, according to CarbonCure. For context, global cement production currently accounts for about 2.7 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.

Read the full breakdown of CarbonCure’s tech here.—GD

        

TOGETHER WITH MANA

Mana

GGEZ. That’s the feeling you get when you claim your *discounted* Mana Pro membership for only $119.95 $69.95. Mana is *the* debit card made for gamers—and it has the perks to prove it. With Mana Pro, you get rewards like Discord Nitro, PS Plus, and Xbox Game Pass. GLHF and join the waitlist here.

BITS AND BYTES

A sparkling quadrilateral triangle reflects patches of light Animation: Dianna “Mick” McDougall, Photo: Getty Images

Stat: Searches for “synthetic data” are up 669% over the last five years—here’s our primer on the topic, in case you’re one of the people googling it.

Quote: “We think the energy transition is a $1.5-$2.0 trillion opportunity per year, with half of that spending going directly towards decarbonization.”—Henry McVey, CIO of KKR, in the private-equity firm’s mid-year update

Read: Is the US ready for self-driving semi-trucks?

Curbing burnout: The way teams work together has changed. Check out Asana’s U.S. Anatomy of Work Index 2022 to explore how organizations, teams, and individuals can drive clarity and build trust. Download it here.*

*This is sponsored advertising content.

WHAT ELSE IS BREWING

  • We’re hosting a big, splashy live event exploring the intersections of emerging technology and food, energy, and health. The summit takes place September 29 in NYC, and you can still buy early-bird tickets today.
  • GM’s EV arm, BrightDrop, delivered 150 electric vans to FedEx in its first major delivery. The delivery giant has ordered 2,500 vehicles so far and could lock in another 20k soon.
  • Mark Zuckerberg released a video showing off some of Meta’s new VR prototypes.
  • China’s sprawling, tech-enabled surveillance state, via a New York Times visual investigation.
  • Toyota, along with Ford and Panasonic, will work with Redwood Materials for battery recycling.

Snap poll: Earlier, we mentioned that more than 60% of execs surveyed by the WSJ expect a recession in the next 12–18 months.

So, same question to all of you: Do you expect the US to enter a recession in that time frame?

Yes
No
​​IDK

TECH THINGAMABOBS

For clean energy cross-sections: An interactive look at the innards of wind turbines, batteries, and solar panels.

For brainy beach reads: Fast Company’s 10 best tech books for this summer.

For Emerging Tech Brew live: We’re chatting with Brendan Jones, president of Blink Charging, about all things EV charging tomorrow via Twitter Spaces. RSVP here.

READER POLL

Earlier this month, a Google engineer made waves by claiming the company’s LaMDA AI is sentient—something the company and the vast majority of AI experts disagree with. Last week, we put the question to all of you: Do you expect to experience sentient AI in your lifetime?

The results were, no exaggeration, the most even we’ve ever had on a reader poll. We had nearly 3,000 respondents, and 1183 said yes, while 1186 said no.

  • The remaining 597 responded with a ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Zoom out: Will Oremus of the Washington Post argues that because a Google engineer was convinced LaMDA is sentient, the AI model has technically passed the Turing test—the most famous benchmark for machine intelligence. The Turing test is simple: If a human can’t tell they’re talking to a machine, the machine has passed the test.

  • He argues that this doesn’t necessarily mean we’ve witnessed the birth of artificial general intelligence, but instead that “the venerable test has outlived its use as a lodestar for artificial intelligence.”

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✳︎ A Note From Mana

Disclaimer: Banking Services provided by MVB Bank., Member FDIC. Terms and Conditions Apply

 

Written by Hayden Field, Grace Donnelly, and Dan McCarthy

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