There’s Nothing So Charming As A Greedy Physicists

September 15, 2022

Quantum computing is supposed to revolutionize the world, but a smart Oxford person says others in The Next Web article, “Oxford Scientist Says Greedy Physicists Have Overhyped Quantum Computing.” Nikita Gourianov is an Oxford physicist who published a mordacious piece about how scientists overhyped quantum computing. He claims they overhyped quantum computing, because they wanted to take advantage of venture capitalists and receive private sector salaries for academic research.

Gourianov describes the problems began in the 2010s, when money was poured into quantum computing and the business sector entered. Non-physicists took leading roles and made oversaturated promises. It very much sounds similar to the Dot-com bubble of the 1990s. Gourianov says the quantum computing companies Rigetti, D-Wave, and IonQ have not turned a profit.

Gourianov is wrong, because Amazon, Intel, Microsoft, IBM, and Google are working on quantum computing and practically printing their own money. The bigger problem Gourianov points out is that quantum computers are not that useful. Remember how computers used to take up entire rooms and were overgrown scientific calculators? It is the same thing with quantum computers. The technology is still in its infancy, but the foundations are being laid for the future:

“There’s overwhelming evidence that today’s quantum computing technology is rapidly advancing to the point where it can help us solve problems that are infeasible for classical computation. Maybe there are a bunch of greedy scientists out there peddling unwarranted optimism to VCs and entrepreneurs. But I’d wager that the curious scientists and engineers who chose this field because they actually want to build quantum computers outnumber them.”

Star Trek and other science fiction stories describe better futures with better technology. We are heading there.

Whitney Grace, September 15, 2022


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