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Friday, May 20, 2022

Why is Silicon Valley still waiting for the next big event?

In the fall of 2019, Google announced to the world that it had achieved “quantum supremacy.”

It was an important scientific milestone, compared by some to Kitty Hawk’s first flight. Using the mysterious powers of quantum mechanics, Google built a computer that took just three minutes and 20 seconds to perform calculations that ordinary computers could not complete in 10,000 years.

But more than two years after Google’s announcement, the world is still waiting for a quantum computer that actually does something useful. And, most likely, will wait much longer. The world is also waiting for self-driving cars, flying cars, advanced artificial intelligence and brain implants that will allow you to control your computing devices using only your thoughts.

The Silicon Valley advertising machine has long been accused of being ahead of reality. But in recent years, critics of the tech industry have noticed that its biggest promises — ideas that can truly change the world — seem farther and farther on the horizon. The great wealth created by the industry in recent years has mainly been due to ideas such as the iPhone and mobile apps that have emerged many years ago.

Have big tech thinkers lost their charm?

The answer that these big thinkers are quick to respond to is absolutely no. But the projects they are involved in are far more complex than building a new app or disrupting another aging industry. And if you look around, the tools that have helped you get through nearly two years of the pandemic — home computers, videoconferencing and Wi-Fi, even the technology that has helped researchers develop vaccines — show that the industry hasn’t exactly lost a step.

“Imagine the economic impact of the pandemic if it weren’t for the infrastructure—hardware and software—that allowed so many white-collar workers to work from home and so many other areas of the economy could be done digitally. said Margaret O’Mara, a professor at the University of Washington who specializes in the history of Silicon Valley.

As for the next big thing, big thinkers say, give it time. Take quantum computing. Jake Taylor, who led the quantum computing work at the White House and is now chief scientist at quantum startup Riverlane, said building a quantum computer could be the most difficult task ever undertaken. This is a machine that defies the physics of everyday life.

The quantum computer is based on the strange behavior of some objects at the subatomic level or when exposed to extreme cold, such as cooling metal to almost 460 degrees below zero. If scientists simply try to read information from these quantum systems, they tend to break down.

In the words of Dr. Taylor, when building a quantum computer, “you are constantly working against a fundamental tendency of nature.”

The most important technological advances of the last few decades—the microchip, the Internet, the mouse-controlled computer, the smartphone—did not defy physics. And they were allowed years and even decades to develop in government agencies and corporate research labs before they eventually reached mass adoption.

“The era of mobile and cloud computing has created so many new business opportunities,” said Dr. O’Mara. But now there are more difficult problems.

Yet the loudest voices in Silicon Valley often discuss these complex issues as if they were just another smartphone app. This can inflate expectations.

People who aren’t experts and understand the issues “could have been misled by the hype,” said Raquel Urtasun, a University of Toronto professor who helped oversee Uber’s self-driving car development and is now executive director of self-driving cars. driving startup Waabi.

Technologies such as self-driving cars and artificial intelligence do not face the same physical hurdles as quantum computing. But just as researchers don’t yet know how to build a viable quantum computer, they don’t yet know how to design a car that can safely drive itself in any situation, or a car that can do everything the human brain can do.

Even a technology like augmented reality — glasses that can superimpose digital images on what you see in the real world — will require years of additional research and development before it can be perfected.

Andrew Bosworth, vice president of Meta, formerly of Facebook, said building these lightweight glasses was akin to building the first mouse-controlled personal computers in the 1970s (the mouse itself was invented in 1964). Companies like Meta have to develop an entirely new way to use computers before putting all of its parts into a tiny package.

Over the past two decades, companies like Facebook have created and implemented new technologies at an incredible rate. But, as Mr. Bosworth said, these were predominantly software technologies built entirely on “bits” – bits of digital information.

Creating new types of equipment – working with physical atoms – is a much more difficult task. “As an industry, we’ve almost forgotten what it’s like,” Mr. Bosworth said, calling the creation of augmented reality glasses “a once-in-a-lifetime project.”

Technologists like Mr. Bosworth believe they will eventually overcome these hurdles, and they are more open about how difficult it will be. But this is not always the case. And when the industry has infiltrated every area of ​​everyday life, it can be hard to separate hand-waving from realism, especially when big companies like Google and big names like Elon Musk are getting the attention.

Many in Silicon Valley believe that hand-waving is an important part of pushing technology into the mainstream. The hype helps attract the money, talent, and faith needed to create the technology.

“If the outcome is desirable — and it’s technically possible — then it’s okay if we’re three years behind, five years behind, or whatever,” said Aaron Levy, chief executive of Silicon Valley-based Box. “You want entrepreneurs to be optimistic—that they have a bit of Steve Jobs’ reality distortion field,” which helped convince people to believe in his big ideas.

The hype is also a way for entrepreneurs to generate public interest. Even if new technologies can be created, there is no guarantee that people and businesses will want to use them, accept them and pay for them. They need persuasion. And perhaps more patience than most people inside and outside of the tech industry allow.

“When we hear about a new technology, it takes our brains less than 10 minutes to imagine what it is capable of. We instantly compress all the compounding infrastructure and innovation needed to achieve this goal,” said Mr. Levy. “That’s the cognitive dissonance we’re dealing with.”

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
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