Posts Tagged ‘Nonlocality’

Consciousness, Nonlocality, Free Will

March 26, 2017

DS asked in Aeon: “Patrice, in what way is consciousness “nonlocal”, and what is the evidence for this?”

DS: Science  and technique progress, and thus so do our visions of the world. Quantum computers are becoming a reality. Quantum computers work in a completely different way from the classical computers we presently have (which, fundamentally are of the same type as those the Greeks had, more than 2,000 years ago!). Present (2017) versions of Quantum computers are primitive relative to what’s coming (Artificial Consciousness computers). And you know what? Full Quantum computers depend crucially upon nonlocality.

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2017/03/14/artificial-consciousness/

Descartes located consciousness (“the soul”) in a tiny part of the brain (the pituitary gland).  I guess because Descartes considered it was the only part of the brain with a unique character, just like the soul is unique to the mind? Now we know the pituitary is just a master neurohormonal center…) 

Philosophers And People of Culture Have to Learn New Words and Especially the Concepts Having to Do With Quantum & Nonlocality. Lest they Become the New Barbarians…

Split brain, and other surgeries have revealed that consciousness can’t be localized that way, inside a tiny organ (whereas short-term memory can be localized, to the hippocampus, fear to the amygdala, vision to 17 areas in the cortex, etc.)

So, in that gross sense, consciousness is non-local.

Next, we are now basically certain that basic biology uses the Quantum (we have a few telling examples already, not just chlorophyll). By this I mean that consciousness uses individual quanta and their nonlocal behavior (for example individual photon, or individual electrons, the latter when, and precisely because, delocalized).

Indeed, what is the most fundamental property of the Quantum? Not just that it is quantified. Nonlocality is the Quantum most important property. The Quantum is quantified because it is nonlocal (Einstein did not understand this his entire life, from 1905 to his death). Nonlocality is the crucial difficulty of Quantum Physics (it shows up as Schrödinger cats, EPR paradox, etc.)

Supposing that the most fundamental thing we know of in the universe, consciousness, can, somehow, avoid the most fundamental physics we have found in the universe, is a form of denial akin to climate denial, or parallel universes. Ignoring Quantum Physics, as a fundamental conceptual tool to understand consciousness can only be explained by prejudice.

What prejudice? Most cultured people have no understanding, let alone feeling, for the Quantum. So they desperately clinging to Classical mechanics, something best suited for artillery shells…

As the Quantum is essentially nonlocal, and fundamental to consciousness, so is consciousness.

And what of the Quantum deniers? Well they miss entirely the immensely rich new logic that Quantum logic has offered beyond Classical logic…

The preceding should not be construed as an endorsement of so-called weirdly named “extrasensory perception”. Instead, I have argued that the sensory system itself is nonlocal (pretty much a physiological evidence, too, as we see with 17 areas…)

A trivial, but telling, case could be called “Free Will and Cosmic Rays”. Cosmic rays, cosmic elementary particles, can be millions of times more energetic than the most powerful elementary particles created by man, at CERN (their origin is obscure, logically speaking). It is known that cosmic rays can change the states of present computers (so even present computers are unpredictable!) Now the scale at which present computers operate is classical (as in classical mechanics), it is hundreds of times larger than the scale at which the inner machinery of cells operate.

That means that the inner machinery of neurons will be put in different states by cosmic rays, just like smartphones. There goes the freedom of Free Will. “Free Will” may feel free, but it may well have, and sometimes surely will have been, directed from a galaxy long ago, far away… This spectacular conclusion is not a matter of opinion. It’s a matter of science. And I have not even considered the question of (the extremely nonlocal) Quantum Entanglement. Quantum Entanglement is real and makes matters way worse.

Some will say, that’s fine, we don’t need to know all this stuff, we can be happy, and we can still pontificate about our classical notions of “Free Will” and “Consciousness”. Indeed, those who want to stay primitive, should. Yes. Yet, within bounds. There are limits to barbarity that civilization needs to set-up, as a matter of survival.

Those who want to cling to a more barbarian, less scientific past certainly cannot claim to have the will to moral superiority. They are like those who believe Muhammad rode to Jerusalem on a winged mule. One cannot accept the principle that one can believe in anything, accept that anybody can believe in anything, and civilization will go on. Verily, superior morality, superior smarts.

If anything, Quantum Physics show that much more things are connected in mysterious ways than ever thought possible. Even space and time get entangled in “Quantum Procrastination“, and cease to have any conventional meaning.

To believe that this completely new, immensely more subtle than was ever suspected (Quantum) universe, has nothing to do with the way we perceive it, and conceive of it, would be an astoundingly naive, revoltingly obsolete, lack of introspection, a short step away from those winged mules.

Patrice Ayme’

TO BE AND NOT TO BE? Is Entangled Physics Thinking, Or Sinking?

April 29, 2016

Frank Wilczek, a physics Nobel laureate, wrote a first soporific, and then baffling article in Quanta magazine: “Entanglement Made Simple”. Yes, all too simple: it sweeps the difficulties under the rug. After a thorough description of classical entanglement, we are swiftly told at the end, that classical entanglement supports the many World Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. However, classical entanglement (from various conservation laws) has been known since the seventeenth century.

Skeptical founders of Quantum physics (such as Einstein, De Broglie, Schrodinger, Bohm, Bell) knew classical entanglement very well. David Bohm found the Bohm-Aharanov effect, which demonstrated the importance of (nonlocal) potential, John Bell found his inequality which demonstrated, with the help of experiments (Alain Aspect, etc.) that Quantum physics is nonlocal.

Differently From Classical Entanglement, Which Acts As One, Quantum Entanglement Acts At A Distance: It Interferes With Measurement, At A Distance

Differently From Classical Entanglement, Which Acts As One, Quantum Entanglement Acts At A Distance: It Interferes With Measurement, At A Distance

The point about the cats is that everybody, even maniacs, ought to know that cats are either dead, or alive. Quantum mechanics make the point they can compute things about cats, from their point of view. OK.

Quantum mechanics, in their busy shops, compute with dead and live cats as possible outcomes. No problem. But then does that mean there is a universe, a “world“, with a dead cat, happening, and then one with a live cat, also happening simultaneously?

Any serious philosopher, somebody endowed with common sense, the nemesis of a Quantum mechanic, will say no: in a philosopher’s opinion, a cat is either dead, or alive. To be, or not to be. Not to be, and not to be.

A Quantum mechanic can compute with dead and live cats, but that does not mean she creates worlds, by simply rearranging her computation, this way, or that. Her various dead and live cats arrangements just mean she has partial knowledge of what she computes with, and that Quantum measurements, even from an excellent mechanic, are just partial, mechanic-dependent measurements.

For example, if one measures spin, one needs to orient a machine (a Stern Gerlach device). That’s just a magnetic field going one way, like a big arrow, a big direction. Thus one measures spin in one direction, not another.

What’s more surprising is that, later on, thanks to a nonlocal entanglement, one may be able to determine that, at this point in time, the particle had a spin that could be measured, from far away, in another direction. So far, so good: this is like classical mechanics.

However, whether or not that measurement at a distance has occurred, roughly simultaneously, and way out of the causality light cone, EFFECTS the first measurement.

This is what the famous Bell Inequality means.

And this is what the problem with Quantum Entanglement is. Quantum Entanglement implies that wilful action somewhere disturbs a measurement beyond the reach of the five known forces. It brings all sorts of questions of a philosophical nature, and make them into burning physical subjects. For example, does the experimenter at a distance have real free will?

Calling the world otherworldly, or many worldly, does not really help to understand what is going on. Einstein’s “Spooky Interaction At A Distance” seems a more faithful, honest rendition of reality than supposing that each and any Quantum mechanic in her shop, creates worlds, willy-nilly, each time it strikes her fancy to press a button.

What Mr. Wilczek did is what manyworldists and multiversists always do: they jump into their derangement (cats alive AND dead) after saying there is no problem. Details are never revealed.

Here is, in extenso, the fully confusing and unsupported conclusion of Mr. Wilczek:

“Everyday language is ill suited to describe quantum complementarity, in part because everyday experience does not encounter it. Practical cats interact with surrounding air molecules, among other things, in very different ways depending on whether they are alive or dead, so in practice the measurement gets made automatically, and the cat gets on with its life (or death). But entangled histories describe q-ons that are, in a real sense, Schrödinger kittens. Their full description requires, at intermediate times, that we take both of two contradictory property-trajectories into account.

The controlled experimental realization of entangled histories is delicate because it requires we gather partial information about our q-on. Conventional quantum measurements generally gather complete information at one time — for example, they determine a definite shape, or a definite color — rather than partial information spanning several times. But it can be done — indeed, without great technical difficulty. In this way we can give definite mathematical and experimental meaning to the proliferation of “many worlds” in quantum theory, and demonstrate its substantiality.”

Sounds impressive, but the reasons are either well-known or then those reasons use a sleight of hand.

Explicitly: “take both of two contradictory property-trajectories into account”: just read Feynman QED, first chapter. Feynman invented the ‘sum over histories’, and Wilczek is his parrot; but Feynman did not become crazy from his ‘sum over history’: Richard smirked when his picturesque evocation was taken literally, decades later…

And now the sleight of hand: …”rather than  [gather] partial information spanning several times. But it can be done — indeed, without great technical difficulty.” This nothing new: it is the essence of the double slit discovered by that Medical Doctor and polymath, Young, around 1800 CE: when one runs lots of ‘particles’ through it, one sees the (wave) patterns. This is what Wilczek means by “partial information“. Guess what? We knew that already.

Believing that one can be, while not to be, putting that at the foundation of physics, is a new low in thinking. And it impacts the general mood, making it more favorable towards unreason.

If anything can be, without being, if anything not happening here, is happening somewhere else, then is not anything permitted? Dostoyevsky had a Russian aristocrat suggests that, if god did not exist anything was permitted. And, come to think of it, the argument was at the core of Christianism. Or more, exactly, of the Christian reign of terror which started in the period 363 CE-381 CE, from the reigns of emperor Jovian to the reign of emperor Theodosius. To prevent anything to be permitted, a god had to enforce the law.

What we have now is way worse: the new nihilists (Wilczek and his fellow manyworldists) do not just say that everything is permitted. They say: it does not matter if everything is permitted, or not. It is happening, anyway. Somewhere.

Thus Many-Worlds physics endangers, not just the foundations of reason, but the very justification for morality. That is that what is undesirable should be avoided. Even the Nazis agreed with that principle. Many-Worlds physics says it does not matter, because it is happening, anyway. Somewhere, out there.

So what is going on, here, at the level of moods? Well, professor Wilczek teaches at Harvard. Harvard professors advised president Yeltsin of Russia, to set up a plutocracy. It ruined Russia. Same professors made a fortune from it, while others were advising president Clinton to do the same, and meanwhile Prime Minister Balladur in France was mightily impressed, and followed this new enlightenment by the Dark Side, as did British leaders, and many others. All these societies were ruined in turn. Harvard was the principal spirit behind the rise of plutocracy, and the engine propelling that rise, was the principle that morality did not matter. because, because, well, Many-Worlds!

How does one go from the foundations of physics, to the foundations of plutocracy? Faculty members in the richest, most powerful universities meet in mutual admiration societies known as “faculty clubs” and lots of other I scratch-your-back, you scratch-my-back social occasion they spend much of their time indulging in. So they influence each other, at the very least in the atmospheres of moods they create, and then breathe together.

Remember? It is not that everything is permitted: it’s happening anyway, so we may as well profit from it first. Many-Worlds physics feeds a mood favorable to many plutocrats, and that’s all there is to it. (But that, of course, is a lot, all too much.)

Patrice Ayme’

The Quantum Puzzle

April 26, 2016

CAN PHYSICS COMPUTE?

Is Quantum Computing Beyond Physics?

More exactly, do we know, can we know, enough physics for (full) quantum computing?

I have long suggested that the answer to this question was negative, and smirked at physicists sitting billions of universes on a pinhead, as if they had nothing better to do, the children they are. (Just as their Christian predecessors in the Middle Ages, their motives are not pure.)

Now an article in the American Mathematical Society Journal of May 2016 repeats (some) of the arguments I had in mind: The Quantum Computer Puzzle. Here are some of the arguments. One often hears that Quantum Computers are a done deal. Here is the explanation from Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Prime Minister, which reflects perfectly the official scientific conventional wisdom on the subject:  https://youtu.be/rRmv4uD2RQ4

(One wishes all our great leaders would be as knowledgeable… And I am not joking as I write this! Trudeau did engineering and ecological studies.)

... Supposing, Of Course, That One Can Isolate And Manipulate Qubits As One Does Normal Bits...

… Supposing, Of Course, That One Can Isolate And Manipulate Qubits As One Does Normal Bits…

Before some object that physicists are better qualified than mathematicians to talk about the Quantum, let me point towards someone who is perhaps the most qualified experimentalist in the world on the foundations of Quantum Physics. Serge Haroche is a French physicist who got the Nobel Prize for figuring out how to count photons without seeing them. It’s the most delicate Quantum Non-Demolition (QND) method I have heard of. It involved making the world’s most perfect mirrors. The punch line? Serge Haroche does not believe Quantum Computers are feasible. However Haroche does not suggest how he got there. The article in the AMS does make plenty of suggestions to that effect.

Let me hasten to add some form of Quantum Computing (or Quantum Simulation) called “annealing” is obviously feasible. D Wave, a Canadian company is selling such devices. In my view, Quantum Annealing is just the two slit experiment written large. Thus the counter-argument can be made that conventional computers can simulate annealing (and that has been the argument against D Wave’s machines).

Full Quantum Computing (also called  “Quantum Supremacy”) would be something completely different. Gil Kalai, a famous mathematician, and a specialist of Quantum Computing, is skeptical:

“Quantum computers are hypothetical devices, based on quantum physics, which would enable us to perform certain computations hundreds of orders of magnitude faster than digital computers. This feature is coined “quantum supremacy”, and one aspect or another of such quantum computational supremacy might be seen by experiments in the near future: by implementing quantum error-correction or by systems of noninteracting bosons or by exotic new phases of matter called anyons or by quantum annealing, or in various other ways…

A main reason for concern regarding the feasibility of quantum computers is that quantum systems are inherently noisy. We will describe an optimistic hypothesis regarding quantum noise that will allow quantum computing and a pessimistic hypothesis that won’t.”

Gil Katai rolls out a couple of theorems which suggest that Quantum Computing is very sensitive to noise (those are similar to finding out which slit a photon went through). Moreover, he uses a philosophical argument against Quantum Computing:

It is often claimed that quantum computers can perform certain computations that even a classical computer of the size of the entire universe cannot perform! Indeed it is useful to examine not only things that were previously impossible and that are now made possible by a new technology but also the improvement in terms of orders of magnitude for tasks that could have been achieved by the old technology.

Quantum computers represent enormous, unprecedented order-of-magnitude improvement of controlled physical phenomena as well as of algorithms. Nuclear weapons represent an improvement of 6–7 orders of magnitude over conventional ordnance: the first atomic bomb was a million times stronger than the most powerful (single) conventional bomb at the time. The telegraph could deliver a transatlantic message in a few seconds compared to the previous three-month period. This represents an (immense) improvement of 4–5 orders of magnitude. Memory and speed of computers were improved by 10–12 orders of magnitude over several decades. Breakthrough algorithms at the time of their discovery also represented practical improvements of no more than a few orders of magnitude. Yet implementing Boson Sampling with a hundred bosons represents more than a hundred orders of magnitude improvement compared to digital computers.

In other words, it unrealistic to expect such a, well, quantum jump…

“Boson Sampling” is a hypothetical, and simplest way, proposed to implement a Quantum Computer. (It is neither known if it could be made nor if it would be good enough for Quantum Computing[ yet it’s intensely studied nevertheless.)

***

Quantum Physics Is The Non-Local Engine Of Space, and Time Itself:

Here is Gil Kalai again:

“Locality, Space and Time

The decision between the optimistic and pessimistic hypotheses is, to a large extent, a question about modeling locality in quantum physics. Modeling natural quantum evolutions by quantum computers represents the important physical principle of “locality”: quantum interactions are limited to a few particles. The quantum circuit model enforces local rules on quantum evolutions and still allows the creation of very nonlocal quantum states.

This remains true for noisy quantum circuits under the optimistic hypothesis. The pessimistic hypothesis suggests that quantum supremacy is an artifact of incorrect modeling of locality. We expect modeling based on the pessimistic hypothesis, which relates the laws of the “noise” to the laws of the “signal”, to imply a strong form of locality for both. We can even propose that spacetime itself emerges from the absence of quantum fault tolerance. It is a familiar idea that since (noiseless) quantum systems are time reversible, time emerges from quantum noise (decoherence). However, also in the presence of noise, with quantum fault tolerance, every quantum evolution that can experimentally be created can be time-reversed, and, in fact, we can time-permute the sequence of unitary operators describing the evolution in an arbitrary way. It is therefore both quantum noise and the absence of quantum fault tolerance that enable an arrow of time.”

Just for future reference, let’s “note that with quantum computers one can emulate a quantum evolution on an arbitrary geometry. For example, a complicated quantum evolution representing the dynamics of a four-dimensional lattice model could be emulated on a one-dimensional chain of qubits.

This would be vastly different from today’s experimental quantum physics, and it is also in tension with insights from physics, where witnessing different geometries supporting the same physics is rare and important. Since a universal quantum computer allows the breaking of the connection between physics and geometry, it is noise and the absence of quantum fault tolerance that distinguish physical processes based on different geometries and enable geometry to emerge from the physics.”

***

I have proposed a theory which explains the preceding features, including the emergence of space. Let’s call it Sub Quantum Physics (SQP). The theory breaks a lot of sacred cows. Besides, it brings an obvious explanation for Dark Matter. If I am correct the Dark matter Puzzle is directly tied in with the Quantum Puzzle.

In any case, it is a delight to see in print part of what I have been severely criticized for saying for all too many decades… The gist of it all is that present day physics would be completely incomplete.

Patrice Ayme’