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Not so long ago virtual reality was heralded as the next new wave. James Carmeron’s entirely virtual epic Avatar remains the top grossing film of all time. But how real is this new wave? A recent report by respected analysts IDC called out the emperor’s clothes – virtual reality (VR) headset sales were down a massive 33% in one year. So what is going on?
Artificial intelligence is a current hot topic for investors but much of what is hyped as AI may not be all that it seems. Hype is a term often seen around disruptive innovations and Gartner penned the hype cycle a couple of decades or so ago in order to describe the different stages (“peak of inflated expectations”, trough of disillusionment”, “slope of enlightenment”, “plateau of productivity”). More recently, analyst Davey Jose at sombre bank HSBC modernised the picture, using terms like “hype mania”, “backlash” and “real application”.
A few weeks ago Google announced that it was close to achieving “quantum supremacy”. Maybe the machines are about to take over. Actually, Google has just made the next stage quantum computing chip (called Bristlecone) that has 72 bits. John Martinis, who heads Google’s effort, says it’s “pretty likely” that the new chip can achieve “quantum supremacy.” But what does this mean?