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An Oxford Physicist Decries Both The Field Of Quantum Computing As Well As The Professionals Working In It

Oxford physicist Dr. Nikita Gourianov has recently published a rather inflammatory insights, condemning fellow scientists in the quantum computing field for overhyping both its scope and practical usage.

Here’s the thing about scientists: they love their work. Honestly, if you spend your doctorate studies actively looking up on and writing to defend a singular field, then the said field will be imprinted onto your psyche. That, I believe, is something that very commonly occurs with scientists in their respective fields. While I won’t name specifics since I believe all educational pursuits are worthy, some fields simply aren’t as relevant to the practical world as their scientists will purport. On the other hand, there are certain lines of work that appear relatively useless initially, but then go on to become wildly popular down the line. For example, computers were built to chart weather patterns, and look where we are now.

The Nikita Gourianov article is particularly controversial as it has invited a lot of heated discourse about the nature of quantum computing and whether it has a viable future ahead. For those individuals unaware, quantum computing refers to technology that relies on quantum mechanics for processing needs. I’m honestly far too uneducated to delve into what quantum mechanics are, so let’s put this in even easier terms: while quantum processors can do anything a normal computer can, and vice versa, the former can potentially complete tasks at relatively miraculous rates.

With “quantum” being such a significant buzzword nowadays, having become a near-permanent staple of science fiction, it’s probably best to at least be wary of the term being used, research article or not. The point that Dr. Gourianov attempts to make is that around the 2010s, when the quantum mechanics hype was at a major peak, scientists realized that there was money to be made from investors. Accordingly, these individuals then attempted to sell their ideas and projections for projects as being much larger than actual estimates. This would pull in investors, the scientists would earn money, and none would be the wiser until a few years down the road.

Dr. Gourianov makes the point that quantum mechanics-oriented companies are making most of their income from consultancies on future projects, as opposed to revenue from practical applications. However, many practical breakthroughs have been achieved in the field by companies as famous as Google or IBM, with some of these even being part of government-sponsored projects, as opposed to private or indie developments.


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