Tech companies including Google, Microsoft and IBM are all working on plans for a commercially viable quantum computer. They say that these machines will be able to solve climate change, help develop new pharmaceutical drugs and transform our economy. But harnessing quantum physics requires overcoming massive challenges.

As researchers tinker away on uber-sensitive, ultra-cold quantum computers and investors become increasingly interested in the potential commercial applications – some people in the quantum computing world aren’t buying the hype.

In this episode, FT innovation editor John Thornhill travels to the West Coast to visit Julie Love and Krysta Svore, both of Microsoft’s quantum computing programme, and tours Google’s quantum computing lab with engineer Erik Lucero. We hear from Bessemer Venture Partners’ investor David Cowan, and FT artificial intelligence editor Madhumita Murgia talks to long-time quantum computing researcher Sankar Das Sarma.

Presented by Madhumita Murgia and John Thornhill, produced by Josh Gabert-Doyon and Edwin Lane. Executive producer is Manuela Saragosa. Sound design by Breen Turner and Samantha Giovinco. The FT’s head of audio is Cheryl Brumley.

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