Can AIs act as conscious observers?

  • #1
jeast
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Imagine that a spin-up silver atom is split into spin-left and spin-right components.

The components interact with two artificial intelligences whose operation is then reversed so that when the spin components are brought together again we recover the original spin-up state.

Is it true that the AIs cannot be acting as conscious observers measuring their respective spin components because if they did then we would have ended up with a spin-left and a spin-right atom rather than a single spin-up atom?
 
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  • #2
jeast said:
Imagine that a spin-up silver atom is split into spin-left and spin-right components.

The components interact with two artificial intelligences whose operation is then reversed so that when the spin components are brought together again we recover the original spin-up state.

Is it true that the AIs cannot be acting as conscious observers measuring their respective spin components because if they did then we would have ended up with a spin-left and a spin-right atom rather than a single spin-up atom?
Conscious observers are not relevant to QM. It's an old misconception.
 
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  • #3
jeast said:
Is it true that the AIs cannot be acting as conscious observers measuring their respective spin components because if they did then we would have ended up with a spin-left and a spin-right atom rather than a single spin-up atom?
As @PeroK points out, consciousness is irrrelevant here. The answer to the modified question above, with my strikethrough added, is yes: no measurement--or more precisely no decoherence--can be occurring during this experiment if the original spin-up state is to be recovered at the end.
 
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  • #4
jeast said:
Imagine that a spin-up silver atom is split into spin-left and spin-right components.

The components interact with two artificial intelligences whose operation is then reversed so that when the spin components are brought together again we recover the original spin-up state.

Is it true that the AIs cannot be acting as conscious observers measuring their respective spin components because if they did then we would have ended up with a spin-left and a spin-right atom rather than a single spin-up atom?

You can do that with a modified Stern-Gerlach apparatus/1/ as imaged by Richard Feynman.

Regarding a spin one-half particle, see Fig. 6-1 in chapter 6, “Spin One-Half”, of “The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Volume III”/2/. The modified Stern-Gerlach apparatus is denoted by ##S##. You read:

A beam of spin one-half particles, entering at the left, would, in general, be split into two beams, as shown schematically in Fig. 6-1. …. As before, the beams are put back together again unless one or the other of them is blocked off by a “stop” which intercepts the beam at its half-way point…. Suppose that we put an apparatus in front of ##S## which produces a pure ##(+x)## state. ….. Such particles would be split into ##(+z)## and ##(-z)## beams in ##S##, but the two beams would be recombined to give a ##(+x)## state again at the exit of ##S##.

This simply results from the mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics.

/1/ See Fig. 5–3.in https://www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu/III_05.html

/2/ https://www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu/III_06.html
 
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  • #5
jeast said:
Imagine that a spin-up silver atom is split into spin-left and spin-right components.

The components interact with two artificial intelligences whose operation is then reversed so that when the spin components are brought together again we recover the original spin-up state.

Is it true that the AIs cannot be acting as conscious observers measuring their respective spin components because if they did then we would have ended up with a spin-left and a spin-right atom rather than a single spin-up atom?
Technically, AI is just the particular configuration of transistors. To us conscious observers it seems like intelligence but without us, it's just a configuration of transistors. How would a particular changing configuration of transistors cause a measurement?
 
  • #6
GarberMoisha said:
How would a particular changing configuration of transistors cause a measurement?
The same way that any interaction that causes decoherence is a measurement. Systems much less complicated and with many fewer degrees of freedom than an electronic computer are sufficient.
 
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  • #7
GarberMoisha said:
How would a particular changing configuration of transistors cause a measurement?
By causing decoherence. That's how any measuring device works according to our best current understanding, which includes all the developments of decoherence theory over the past few decades. To do that, a device needs to have a large number of degrees of freedom that cannot be individually tracked. Any AI would be expected to contain enough transistors to meet that requirement. But of course you could hypothesize an "AI" that did not cause decoherence--and that would mean such an "AI" could not make measurements.
 
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  • #8
GarberMoisha said:
Technically, AI is just the particular configuration of transistors. To us conscious observers it seems like intelligence but without us, it's just a configuration of transistors. How would a particular changing configuration of transistors cause a measurement?
Yes, and technically a human is just a particular configuration of cells hosting chemical reactions. How would a particular changing-configuration of cells hosting chemical reactions cause a measurement? :wink:
 
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  • #11
PeterDonis said:
As @PeroK points out, consciousness is irrrelevant here. The answer to the modified question above, with my strikethrough added, is yes: no measurement--or more precisely no decoherence--can be occurring during this experiment if the original spin-up state is to be recovered at the end.

Consciousness implies measurement.

Therefore:

No measurement implies no consciousness.

Thus as no measurement occurs in this thought experiment then AI computation, however complex, is not sufficient to produce conscious awareness.
 
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  • #12
jeast said:
Consciousness implies measurement.

Therefore:

No measurement implies no consciousness.
Even if we accept your premise, it does not follow that no consciousness implies no measurement. Which I think was your false conclusion.
 
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  • #13
PeroK said:
Even if we accept your premise, it does not follow that no consciousness implies no measurement. Which I think was your false conclusion.
Indeed.

This thread is going nowhere and will now be closed.
 
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