Quantum Thoughts (blame @ManMadeMoon)
Every so often, something comes along to drag my mind back to the first time I read Seth Lloyd’s Programming the Universe…, when I sent him an email.
The Body of the E-Mail went something like this:
‘The wave/particle duality of individual particles depends on it not being observed, but the spread of entropy (ignorance) is based upon the interactive observation that collapses the waveform. It seems that the measurement of states becomes simultaneously more and less difficult.
‘So my question is this: If entropy is, to some degree, subjective, relying on what we can see/know about a given system, could not the wave/particle duality be coerced into behaving the same way? Simultaneously classical and “weird” quantum behaviour? Classical at the level of the thing which has observed it, but “weird” to everything still unaware?’
This interpretation/perceived possibility is due, on my part, to page 108 of Programming the Universe.
To my shock, he replied, and less than a week later, with the following:
‘Thank you for your thoughtful reading of Programming the Universe.
You are right that there is a subjective aspect to wave-particle duality:
depending on one’s interaction with quantum, one can tease out out
wave aspects or particle aspects, or, surprisingly, both. For example,
in the double slit experiment, suppose that one attaches an unreliable measuring
device to each slit, so that one can determine which slit the particle
went through with, say, 90% certainty. One then still finds an
interference pattern on the screen, albeit one with reduced contrast.
That is, both the wave (interference pattern) and particle (which
slit information) aspects of the quantum exhibit themselves
‘Hoping that this example helps answer your perceptive
So, let’s unpack that, again: If we use an “unreliable measuring device”—one with a generally-but-not-wholly-quantified margin of error—then the interference pattern’s contrast will reflect that level of unreliability/margin of error. That is to say, if you were to look at the photosensitive plate, then the interference pattern’s width and contrast will be altered in accordance with the accuracy of the measuring device
A “More Accurate” but not “Fully Functional” measurement taker will result in a widened/lightened pattern or contrast, showing as on its way toward discrete Spots, while a “Less Accurate” but not “Non-Functioning” measurement taker will result in a narrowed/darkened IP or Contrast, on its way to full waveform.
Humans are often very inaccurate measuring devices, on the level of our conscious processes, but very very accurate, unconsciously.
It’s something to consider, as we continue to uncover the implications of Heisenberg: In what might the fuzzy feedback loop of our perception result?
Some days I wonder how you people put up with me, and then I remember how awesome I am, and it all comes back together. :P
It’s been a VERY long day. Good night.