What is “quantum law”? Two years ago I told my graduating class of Georgetown Law students that I would not be teaching in a law school anymore. Instead, I wanted to become the first practitioner of a new discipline, called “quantum law”. The first step was to figure out what it was!
I am now moving toward a good definition, still imperfect, but making progress. Its time to start getting feedback and ‘socializing’ the concepts on this blog and elsewhere. You are encouraged to comment here, create links to enable other communities to see and react, or just give me a call or email.
So, in this first step, it is useful to propose how quantum law will work. There is no doubt that technology and the rule of law are currently in conflict, one which grows more complex and more challenging to navigate with each day’s installment of new developments. But there are two essential truths that are cornerstones defining the realities of the future.
First, computational power is continuing to grow. While there are a few that question whether quantum computing will become real, there is no doubt very powerful computing will evolve, capable of calculating in real time amazing, complex mathematics yielding accurate predictions, probabilities, and controls over automated machines, and the humans interacting with those machines.
Second, digital monitoring and surveillance of nearly all human behavior and communication, certainly all behavior and communication with which the rule of law is today concerned, is inevitable. There is a motivation few people acknowledge that is, in its essence, brutally simple. Automation is only justified when technology can improve on inefficiencies. But as automation progresses, there are fewer and fewer known inefficiencies to improve . . . unless monitoring and surveillance become more comprehensive. That is the only way further automation makes economic sense—we have to become more and more observant of ourselves and our interactions with each other and the world on which we live to find the inefficiencies.
Therefore, the concept of quantum law responds to those realities. Whatever we can imagine from current innovations shrinks in perspective to the potentials of living in a global community in which quantum computing drives all of our systems and surveillance is everywhere. How will humankind govern itself in that world? Quantum law serves as a foundation on which we can build the answers.
Quantum law is a conceptual framework, a structure, a context into which we can focus our optimism-and our substantial discomforts-for how technology can enrich and enable peaceful co-existence. At this point, there are several hypotheses serving as the first principles. Theorems? Thought experiments? Wild-eyed science-fiction? Yes as to all, but these are starting points, each of which require more in-depth analysis.
Observation becomes part of any automated behavior.
As a machine performs its defined functions, or even creates its own rules for behavior, the process itself is being observed and recorded. Those records must sustain continual improvements, audits, governance, and the transactions and interactions among humankind and machines that result. In quantum law, the machine-generated record becomes a controlling, objective expression and documentation of what has occurred.
The machine becomes the superior witness.
For reasons of functional efficiency, the machine-generated record is viewed as the superior expression—the controlling evidence of the truth under quantum law. The types of battles over the ‘truth’ which are the blood meal for the legal profession (and others) in which human witnesses testify to their observations are abandoned in quantum law.
The rules govern the parts, not the whole.
In modern regulatory systems, both those of nation-states and corporate bodies (and their related consortia of one type or another), our rules often describe the performance standards for the full system—a financial system, a healthcare system, an employment selectin process, etc. But, as computing moves toward component architectures, dynamic system assemblies, containerized applications, and blockchain controls, all of the related rules are, and will continue, to become more and more specific.
Indeed, to enable interoperability of hardware and software, and the mobility and velocity of information, strong compliance with precise rules is required. This is already the case, but will become even more critical as computing expands. Just think of what is needed for IoT devices to interact and create a more complete image of your life inside your home, your car, your workspace, and your entertainment venues!
Machines will define alternate realities.
As machines gather and access more and more records, they can become more and more precise and effective in calculating the probabilities of alternative realities and outcomes in defined, known contexts. Today, of course, this is much of what sophisticated algorithms do with securities trading—trying to anticipate the future with granularity and precisional accuracy. But, within the future of quantum law, much more will be possible.
In effect, quantum computing narrows the dialog between the present and the future in order to be more successful at bonding the preferred outcome in the future to the present, creating a singular, desired reality. Quantum law provides the rulesets and architecture in which that level of machine-based behavior is acceptable and encouraged by humankind.
The velocity of trusted information will be the supreme objective.
The subtitle of my most recent book is “The New Rules for Business at the Speed of Light”. One of the key concepts in the book is The Velocity Principle. It states that, “The velocity of information is proportional to the transparency of its governance.” Information moves more quickly when we know where it came from, how it has been stored, secured, accessed, edited, transmitted, and received.
But, just as an object of matter gains mass as it approaches the speed of light, so too does trusted information gain added “mass” of trust—what I call the t-value. It makes logical sense—to move faster and faster, there has to be increased trust. Information that moves the fastest enables faster decisions, and faster decisions, based on well-calculated probabilities, are likely to be most effective at gaining advantage in any competitive landscape.
So, how do we get there? Do we want to get there from here? Do we have any choices about the alternatives? Well, I am still working on those questions, and the answers!
Once again, if you have read this far, please know I am interested in your feedback, questions, and concerns. Just send me a note or give me a call. It will surely take a global village to get this stuff running well . . . and enable humankind to survive with a digital infrastructure that works!