🔮 Quantum computing; NFTs; Rethinking venture capital; battery chargers & chicken statues ++ #349

Hi, I’m Azeem Azhar. I convene Exponential View to help us understand how our societies and political economy will change under the force of rapidly accelerating technologies.

This week on the podcast
Ian Hogarth and Nathan Benaich are well-known for their annual State of AI report, in which they take stock of the technology, industry, and policy of this fast-changing general-purpose technology. In the latest podcast conversation, we discuss the most recent breakthroughs in AI, and we dig into...

  • 🏢 What Salesforce’s biology research says about the AI industry [14.59]
  • 🤖 How the AI/ML engineer shortage could be solved by… machines [24.01]
  • ⚔️ Why tech ‘choke points’ could become political battlegrounds [39.23]

Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, read a transcript here or an overview here.

Dept of near future

The future of quantum computing
💻 The power and promise of quantum computing is apparent, but it’s been difficult to parse when the technology will have mainstream applications. Thanks to some rather significant developments, we now have more certainty around when quantum computing becomes useful. IBM announced this month that it had created the largest ever superconducting quantum computer. The 127-physical-qubit quantum computer is over double the size of similar machines recently unveiled by Google and the University of Science and Technology of China. The limit of quantum supremacy—the point at which quantum computers can solve problems no classical computer can—is normally thought of as 150 qubits. However, that means 150 coherent, noise-free logical qubits. Because physical qubits are noisy, most quantum computers will need about 1,000 times more physical qubits than logical ones. (In the case of the IBM milestone, this suggests we are about 0.1% of the way there.)

Thanks to these technological advances and clarity on timelines from providers laying out clear roadmaps and milestones, we have a better idea of when this technology will become practically useful.

The consequence of this clarity is a fast-increasing investment. More than two-thirds of equity investments in quantum computing have been made since 2018. Moreover, the current progress of leading hardware technologies shows that the most progress is taking place with superconductors (compared with ion traps, photonics, quantum dots, and cold atoms). This suggests that progress is not likely going to be linear but will instead leapfrog. Promising developments ahead!

🎧 For a deep dive on quantum computing, listen back to my discussion with Chris Monroe and Peter Chapman of IonQ, the first company focused on quantum computing to go public; and my conversation with Jeremy O'Brien, CEO of PsyQuantum.

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