Monday, February 7, 2022

Comparing Quantum Hype to Other Hypes

New paper:
Mitigating the quantum hype
Olivier Ezratty

We are in the midst of quantum hype with some excessive claims of quantum computing potential, many vendors’ and even some research organizations’ exaggerations, and a funding frenzy for very low technology readiness level startups. Governments are contributing to this hype with their large quantum initiatives and their technology sovereignty aspirations. Technology hypes are not bad per se since they create emulation, drive innovations and also contribute to attracting new talents. ...

Artificial intelligence specialists who have been through its last “winter” in the late 1980s and early 1990s keep saying that quantum computing, if not quantum technologies on a broader scale, are bound for the same fate: a drastic cut in public research spendings and innovation funding. Their assumption is based on observing quantum technology vendors and even researchers overhype, on a series of oversold and unkept promises in quantum computing and on the perceived slow improvement pace of the domain. ...

We have seen that the quantum hype has many differentiated aspects compared to past and current technology hypes, the main ones being its technology diversity and the complexity of evaluating its scientific advancements and roadmaps.

The paper has a nice comparison to other technology hype.

It cannot tell us whether the hype is justified, long term. It can only look at examples of hypes.

I am still not sure about the AI hype. It has never lived up to its expectations. It has had some huge successes.

It is still unknown whether quantum computers will have any utility.

1 comment:

  1. Quantum computing is almost verbatim the same gag joke in Space Balls the movie (a fine film by Mel Brooks).

    In the movie, there is a scene where the intrepid Dark Helmet is informed by his right hand man, Colonel Sanders, that instead of actually looking for the renegades, all they need to do is buy the videotape of their own movie, and fast forward to the next scene to reveal their location, thus eliminating the actual process of finding them. There is an incredibly awkward moment when they are literally watching themselves in real time, and keep turning around and around looking out towards the audience as they try and figure out how they are being observed.

    The concept of a person inside of a fictional construct using the fact that they are part of a fictional construct themselves to break their own fictional concept of 'time' by observing themselves from the perspective of being outside the construct (with the audience) and thus discern 'the future' is just as valid conceptionally as quantum computing.

    In a nutshell, you can't gloss over sequential intermediate steps of actual computation by skipping to the end of the goddamn movie by invoking ridiculous simultaneous paradoxes and 'muh probabilities'. This would be akin to Bill and Ted finding themselves trapped, and just verbally invoking themselves using a time machine at some future point to come back and help rescue themselves. It's cute as a corny joke, but not so much as science.

    When you can invoke paradoxes as design features to solve problems supernaturally, suddenly you can do anything, which is actually the entire problem. The cat isn't alive AND dead. The cat is either alive OR dead, you just don't know, and you not knowing does not mean reality is as woefully uninformed as you are. Not knowing something does not mean your uncertainty informs alternate diverging realities, it doesn't, and never did...unless you are a egocentric imbecile. If the cat could be alive AND dead, what the hell, why be small minded, it could also be non-existent as well, or even a zombie Chihuahua or an immortal parakeet. Probability is a second hand calculation (a process of non zero time to perform) that is populated by numbers taken from measurements of some kind (also requiring non zero time to perform). A probability does not exist as a timeless numerical abstraction at all, unless you actually calculate one in reality in a finite amount of time, it can have no independent existence outside of a performed calculation.

    At some point, physics is going to have to come to terms with the epistemological fact that they have their own heads shoved so far up their own ill-defined backsides, they have lost sight of the obvious: that all their equations are equations, not reality itself. Reality is not and will never be a math equation, much less an observer dependent second hand calculation awaiting someone to perform it, even if you describe it with one.

    “By denying scientific principles, one may maintain any paradox.” — Galileo Galilei