Is funding surge a sign of impending breakthroughs in AI and Quantum Computing ?

Information and communication technology (ICT) has been the largest and strongest R and D industry sector. Artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing, machine learning, and deep learning have been hot for a few years but the past few months there has been a a ramp up in AI and Quantum computing research funding and funding announcements.

China is building a $10 billion research center for quantum applications. This news comes on the heels of the world’s first video call made via quantum-encrypted communications and the completion of a quantum-encrypted fiber optic trunk cable. The National Laboratory for Quantum Information Sciences is slated to open in 2020 and has two major research goals: quantum metrology and building a quantum computer.

Alibaba will more than double research and development spending to $15 billion over the next three years to develop next-generation technology, drive its sprawling business and explore moonshot projects that could upend industries. The e-commerce giant plans to set up seven research labs and hire 100 scientists around the world to delve into artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and quantum computing.

This will put Alibaba into the Google class of research and development funding.

A large portion of Masayoshi Son’s $100 billion vision fund will go towards artificial intelligence and quantum computing funding. This fund has Japanese, Saudi Arabian and UAE backing.

Masayoshi took one year to raise his $100 billion fund and is talking about another $100 billion fund.

Is funding surge a sign of impending breakthroughs in AI and Quantum Computing ? Is the tens of billions raised and committed by tech giants and insiders an indication that anticipated quantum dominance and the promise of AI will be realized ?

Many tech giants and innovators seem to be certain based on the level of new funding.

The China government funding is less of a sign as governments have had a poor to mixed record betting on revolutionary technology. (See the International Tokomak as a multi-decade failure but DARPA has been pretty good.)

Google and Facebook have been getting some payback from their big tech investments but have not yet generated game changers. They had initial game changers but then did not generate a string of new ones.