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MIT's 'Chief D-Wave Skeptic' Weighs In

Professor Scott Aaronson has been a leading critic of the mysterious quantum computer company. These excerpts from his blog offer a window into the debate raging online.

Since 2007, MIT computer science professor and "Chief D-Wave skeptic" Scott Aaronson has been at the center of the debate about D-Wave. Below, a few of Aaronson's greatest moments in snark, taken from his blog.

On Rose's criticism: I find it amusing that Geordie is now trying to spread the meme that I've been "wrong exactly 100 percent of the time about everything." I admit that I've been wrong in underestimating human credulity and herd behavior.

On Google's picking up a D-Wave two: Imagine yourself in command of a $100 billion empire, when one of your subordinates comes babbling to you about a new startup that's building interdimensional flux quantum jigga-transponders. A perfectly reasonable response would be: "I don't understand this. I don't have time to understand it. In fact, it sounds a bit fishy, so what the hell, throw $10 million at it just in case. Next agenda item!"

On magical thinking: Commenters on D-Wave threads remind me of the kid who thought there were little men inside his TV. Hearing this, the kid's engineer mother took a few hours to explain to him all about digital signal transmission, liquid crystal displays, etc. The kid listened with interest, asked intelligent questions, and seemed to understand. But finally he said: "But, Mom, there must be at least a few little men inside the TV, right?"

On the load he carries: I can either respond [to critics] and get called an asshole or not respond and get called a coward. Or I can respond when and how it's comfortable for me, and get called both an asshole and a coward. So, in summary, I no longer feel like I know how to handle the burden of being right.




Last updated: Feb 12, 2014


Lydia Belanger is an editorial intern for Inc. magazine. Previously, she interned with AARP The Magazine and Circle of Blue.

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