MOSCOW -- Fledgling quantum technologies will eventually change the world, Serguei Beloussav, a serial entrepreneur, told us at the recent International Conference on Quantum Technologies in Moscow.
Beloussav, who has an MS in physics, said he is following the basic research model pioneered by Bell Labs. This time, the pure science is being performed at the Russian Quantum Center (RQC), which sponsored the conference. Commercial companies, such as Beloussav's own QWave Capital, will take the RQC research beyond the scientists' original vision and develop real-world applications. For instance, the Bell Labs scientists who developed the laser had no idea it would eventually enable a revolution in entertainment technologies (the CD and DVD). Beloussav explained:
One of the true innovators of the past 100 years, which changed the world, is not really Microsoft, Google, or Facebook, but rather Bell Labs, [which] developed uniquely applied, fundamental, broad science to solve world problems. And Bell Labs solved world problems. Most of the technology we use today is actually based on what Bell Labs built -- operating systems and photo-detectors and solar batteries and cell communication and transistors and microchips. As quantum technology will become broadly used in a variety of different industries, that will change the world more significantly than the developments that were accomplished by Bell Labs.
Quantum technologies aim to realize breakthroughs to enable technologies that are "unthinkable" today but could be realized in the future by applying the science being explored today by researchers like those at the RQC, according to Beloussav, who chairs the RQC.
One of the things with scientists -- that is, a difference between scientists and engineers -- is that engineers are typically taught certain specific skills to solve problems in the way it was solved in the past or in a slightly modified way. And they don't go into solving problems that seem to be unsolvable. And scientists quite often go and look for ways to solve problems that sort of look unsolvable, because with existing technologies, those problems are unsolvable. But with new science and technologies, we can find solutions to which are not known to be solvable to day. That's what Bell Labs did.