If we believe the headlines, quantum computing is going to revolutionise the world. It has attracted tens of billions of dollars in investment involving the largest global tech companies. But leading scientists are arguing it is little more than a hoax. Quantum computers, they claim, have fundamental problems that show no sign of being addressed or in principle of being solvable. The technology relies on qubits, only a handful have been made, need to operate barely above absolute zero, and cohere for a mere 50 microseconds. No result they claim has been calculated that is of any practical consequence.
Should we recognise that few understand quantum buzzwords like 'entanglement' and 'superposition' so that even the sophisticated are at risk of being taken in by hype? Should funders, investors and governments be highly sceptical of quantum vocabulary, along with the rest of us when reading articles promoting a quantum future? Or are these sceptical challenges to the quantum world a threat to a vital breakthrough, that risk undermining funding and allowing others including China to take a global lead?
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