/The memelords and bullshit-sniffers fighting hype in quantum computing (via Qpute.com)
The memelords and bullshit-sniffers fighting hype in quantum computing

The memelords and bullshit-sniffers fighting hype in quantum computing (via Qpute.com)

The quantum computing community has done an excellent job of pitching the potential of its work.

The world’s superpowers have already placed their bets. The European Commission last year launched a €1 billion fund for a number of quantum technology projects; the US National Quantum Initiative Act, a $1.2 billion investment plan to advance quantum computing, passed Congress in 2018; the Chinese government too has named quantum communications and computing among the ‘megaprojects’ it is backing.

Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, Canada and Singapore have made funding announcements totalling more than a billion euros.

Investors have been convinced to take a punt on the potential too. The number of deals with the small band of start-ups in the quantum technology space has tripled since 2013, with total funding reaching more than US$200M in 2017, according to CB Insights.

Big business has been keen to get in on the game as well. Booz Allen Hamilton, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Volkswagen, Ford, JPMorgan Chase, Samsung, Barclays, Hitachi Metals, and locally the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Telstra have all announced quantum computing plays or partnerships with the main players building their own machines like Google, IBM, Intel, and Microsoft.

Analysts and media, meanwhile, have been dialling up the excitement. The count of articles covering the field is increasing every month. Headlines have claimed quantum computers will “change the world”; “disrupt every industry”; “change cybersecurity forever”; bring about a “AI revolution” and do it all “sooner than you expect”.

You’d be forgiven for thinking a working; fault-tolerant quantum computer ready to tackle algorithms and solve problems a supercomputer couldn’t cope with is just around the corner. But it’s not. It’s not even close.

Haunted by fears that disappointment with progress will lead to cynicism and funding cuts – a so called ‘winter’ as happened to artificial intelligence in the ’80s and more recently in nanotechnology – a small band of researchers is now working to reset expectations.


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