Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Many-Worlds Interpretation Issue

  1. Jun 12, 2006 #1
    OK, I have a problem with the many-world interpretation, namely the quantum suicide experiment. My problem: How exactly does your consciousness transfer over? When you die in your current "reality," do you just swap randomly to one of the parallel worlds? Or are each of the conscious entities spawned at each instant completely independent from each other?

    I'm just wondering if anyone actually has some logical insight into this problem. Basically, I can't see the quantum suicide experiment proving anything, because it's highly unlikely that you're in the one world where the gun doesn't fire after pulling the trigger 100 times. Oh sure, copies of you would persist in various parallel universes, but considering they're probably independent from you, who cares?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 12, 2006 #2
    the idea is that with every event- all possible results of the interaction occur and expand the hermitian matrix- the 'universes' are all branching off from the local event so there is no 'transfer'- it is just that one or some of the transfinite branching possibilities continues while the others die- the 'survivor' in a quantum suicide gedankenexperiment is the physical case were events did not cause the scientist's brain to cease working- if we assume the gun has fired and the bullet is about to enter the skull- the survivor is a branching case where for instance the atoms in the bullet fail to interact with any of the atoms in the skull [or none that cause lethal damage] HIGHLY unlikely but nevertheless this result is a valid one in the Hilbert space-

    given the highly unlikelihood of physical survival in such an experiment- or in ANY death [death is a complex process of many interdependent physical events] I personally feel that a corollary to quantum suicide is that it is centillions of orders of magnitude more probable that any dying organism is reconstructed through an archeological resurrection process or 'ancestor simulation' through advanced quantum/hyper computation than through a miraculous survival- the hilbert space would contain an unlimited number of cases where some outside agency ran a quantum computational simulation of the experimenter's world-state and thus those non-local computational processes would by computing the hilbert space of the world-state be directly connected to it as a set of branching possibilities as with the local possibilities- so any one performing the quantum suicide experiment would just 'wake-up' in a technological reconstruction as with any other dying organism- rather than experience survival of the experiment in the same history- those rare outcomes are still of course in the Hilbert space- but probability shows that any measured outcome would most likely be a non-local archeological reconstruction of the experimenter's state at death

    in this view quantum immortality is still the result- but instead of an observer seeming to live forever by always surviving all injuries and illness- then of course somehow surviving aging- instead every observer lives a normal life- then a crucial injury/illness followed by an awakening in some form of technological reconstruction- most likely by a super-intelligent society which evolves in one of the possible futures of the observer's own world [so a resurrection/reconstruction is still more likely even if in some/most futures the world's intelligence goes extinct- there will ALWAYS be futures as well as parallel presents and alternate pasts of ANY world in which limitless godlike technology is achieved and all possible life-histories of any possible observer in the hilbert space of that world are extracted/reconstructed-] after such a reconstruction the options for the eternal continuation of an observer's perspective are limitless and unknowable


    there is nothing strange or mystically unscientific about any of this[!]- it may SEEM like fantasy but it is merely what the Schrödinger equation tells us what happens with ANY quantum system: all possible histories occur and the probability of specific types of outcomes determine which sets of histories are observed more- it is just in the case of the highly specialized systems we call conscious minds- that the effect of the Schrödinger equation REQUIRES this odd form of immortality for any conscious observer- an observer can only cease to exist if there are no possibilities of survival in the ENTIRE HILBERT SPACE- and that is not possible- there will always be a tiny few solutions that offer survival- and many solutions which copy/continue the observer's consciousness through reconstruction of their information-
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2006
  4. Jun 13, 2006 #3
    These are all points that I understand, what I'm not understanding is what someone who performs the quantum suicide experiment experiences. I would think that surviving the experiment 100 times in a row is more probable than any reconstruction by a future civilization (considering the gun is measuring the spin of a single particle).

    I guess the question is semi-philosophical. It's my personal belief that your consciousness is attached to yourself. Taking this into consideration, at each time-step, does the consciousness fragment into infinitely many independent copies? Or are they all still intrinsically linked, where if one (or several) of the copies die, consciousness is maintained because the person still lives in at least SOME of the worlds (or they'll be resurrected in the worlds in which they have died).

    My feeling is: I will still cease to be conscious at some point in my life, so I would only have "immortality" in that my copies would survive. But since I only experience this one world, that doesn't matter, since I can't suddenly experience those OTHER worlds.
     
  5. Jun 13, 2006 #4

    vanesch

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member


    In fact, this is a question which is entirely open to your own spiritual inspiration ! The reason is that it is totally impossible to say "when a state has the SAME consciousness as another state". This is like trying to argue for or against re-incarnation. How do you know that you are not in fact the *same* consciousness as, say, Julius Ceasar (but your memory an character being physical aspects of your bodystate, you don't have any memory of it of course).

    The issue with quantum suicide is exactly the same, and my personal view is the same as yours in fact. I tend to think that there is a continuity from one state to another for the "same" consciousness, and that you are NOT each time randomly redistributed (as I said before, then there' s no reason you do remain attached to the same body! You could just as well end up the next moment as the "conscious experience" of your neighbour, or your cat, for that matter). So if you want to keep "continuity" in the conscious experience, and at each "branching" you draw (according to the Born rule) in which of the issuing branches you're going to end up, you might as well end up in a dead body state, and then it's over. Or not. Or you might go to heaven, or to hell. Or become Napoleon. There's no sensible way to pick one view over another.

    So, next time you're on a spicy party, and one proposes you a game of Russian Quantum Roulette, don't bet on it :-)
     
  6. Jun 13, 2006 #5

    vanesch

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Yes, my idea too. Of course, like the ancient Egyptians, as long as a copy of you lives on somewhere, you live on too! As long as your name is written somewhere, you live on too. But that's a poetic version of survival. I think - as you do - that you're dead. But hey ! You'll find out ! When you'll be experiencing a 750 years old body, you can take it that the quantum suicide stuff, after all, was correct !
     
  7. Jun 13, 2006 #6
    as an old-school AI/cog science geek I find that concepts of copies and identity are irrelevant- a human's sense of identity is based on specific neural connections and feedback from the systems the brain has a certain kind of control over- if I were to make such a connection with a fire-hydrant- that hydrant would seem to be as much a part of me as my heart or hand or memories! and even mere non-physical psychological trauma can cause a DISCONNECTION of your sense of self and parts of your body- we see this in those that suffer dissociative identity disorders where they feel that one of their own limbs is 'alien' and must be amputated-

    a self is a construct of neural information processing- which is built from a substrate of quantum mechanical matter that is always branching it's histories-

    things get even more dicey when you consider that TIME is vital for consciousness- we are aware of our existence because our minds are structured to compare current sensory data with stored records of past sensory experience- yet Time itself is a quantum mechanical concept that is now being understood as not flowing at all- but rather that clock-like systems with records of 'past states' experience a illusory flow of time from that built in comparison to records process- time does not flow- and states are not linked by anything but the probability distribution of possible histories that is formed by their built-in dynamics-


    "Philosophically, I would like to add to that that it simply does not make sense to say that there are parallel copies of all particles that participate in microscopic interactions, but that there are not parallel copies of macroscopic ones. It is like saying that someone is going to double the number of pennies in a bank account without doubling the number of Pounds.
    " ~David Deutsch
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2006
  8. Jun 14, 2006 #7

    vanesch

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    It makes all the difference when you consider issues such as:
    "do you prefer your copy to be tortured if this can render you rich" from a non-behavioural viewpoint!
     
  9. Jun 14, 2006 #8

    Doc Al

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    "copies" in MWI?

    Going back to the OP and the notion of "copies" or parallel "universes" in MWI: What are the nature of these "copies"? How are are they formed? How many are they? (Silly questions, I'm sure, but maybe you can straighten me out, vanesch! :smile: )

    The various branches or copies seem to be somehow tied to human consciousness. Is this true? (Seems rather anthropocentric for a physics interpretation, so I'm sure I'm missing something.)

    What about the countless interactions among particles/systems that don't involve "measurements"? Do they provoke branching as well?

    As to how many branches form, that completely baffles me. Say I perform a Stern-Gerlach experiment to "measure" the spin of a sodium atom. Are there just two branches, one in which I see spin up, the other in which I see spin down? Or are there countless gazillions of branches? Some in which I measure spin up wearing a red bow tie, some where I have no tie, some where I have two heads (we followed a different evoluntionary path in that branch, apparently), and so on... Please help me understand this. (These examples may sound facetious, but I've seen similar statements.)
     
  10. Jun 14, 2006 #9

    vanesch

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Oh no :redface: I get half of my peer mentors on my head for this (and the other half isn't interested :blushing:)

    As I pointed out already several times, this "branching" in MWI is often misunderstood. Branches are not objective properties of a wavefunction. MWI only makes one hard formal statement: that is that "objective reality" is described by a unitary structure (to be sliced in a specific reference frame into a wavefunction and a following a timelike evolution described by a unitary operator which is the "time evolution operator"). Of course, one can switch reference frame, then the wavefunction and the unitary operator changes, under a representation of the Lorentz group. But we stil have the same unitary structure. So much for reference frame independence.
    I'll now assume we work in a specific reference frame, when talking about the "wavefunction".

    In fact, the above is the unitary part of standard "Copenhagen-style" quantum theory. But the projection postulate is left out.

    But what has this to do with observation ?
    How does a completely formal framework "generate" observations ?
    How is this happening in Newtonian theory, say ?

    Well, Newtonian mechanics can be described by a flow in phase space. A point in phase space then corresponds to a state (of the entire entity observer + system if you want) and the dynamics is given by a hamiltonian flow over phase space.
    Now, there's something special in this Newtonian phase space description, which is that the phase space can be written as the product of a system phase space and an observer phase space, and that a point in the overall phase space corresponds to a pair of points in the two subspaces. It is hence possible to have "a state of the system" and "a state of the observer". We now define "observations" as being different states of the observer, and as, to a single overall state, there only corresponds one state of the observer, once the overall state is given, and once we say what is an observer (as a subspace of the overall phase space) we can associate with each observer state "a definite observation result".

    In other words, if we have the Moon-Joe system, and Joe looks at the moon, then the Moon-Joe system will be, through this interaction, in a specific state, which can be split in "a state of the Moon" and "a state of Joe". The state of Joe will contain the specific observation of Joe of the moon. As there is a 1-1 link between the point in the system subspace, and the observer subspace, we usually do not take into account the observer subspace, and we limit ourselves to the phase space of the moon, assuming that Joe's observations will reveal that point.

    But you see that there is nevertheless a needed assumption, which is very tiny and straightforward in this case.
    One should now, to be complete, associate a "state of consciousness" to each point of the phase space of Joe's body. Well, some points will correspond to "Joe is dead", but some points will correspond to certain conscious experiences by Joe. In this case, there is also a 1-1 relationship between the phase space description of Joe's body, and any conscious experience by Joe.

    We could say that we are in a "naive realism" case, where body = conscious experience = observations = reality, because all these different things are in a 1-1 relationship, given a single point in phase space.

    Nevertheless, nothing stops us, in Newtonian physics, from considering the INDEPENDENT evolution of SEVERAL points in the phase space. As the Hamiltonian flow is independent of this, we could have "parallel worlds" evolve in one and the same phase space, simply by having several points moving in the same overall phase space, following the same overall dynamics. But, the flows of individual points being independent, there's no way for "one world" to "be aware" of any of the other points. Nevertheless, in Joe's body subspace, we would now have several points evolving, and hence different "parallel conscious experiences" associated to the same body phase space. They'd not know about one another.
    In fact, this is not so crazy, and this is an old discussion about whether "alternative possibilities are real". We could even have a DISTRIBUTION of 'worlds' in phase space, which evolves according to the Liouville equation, and which would describe the "density of worlds" evolving in classical phase space.
    Nevertheless, the observation is that this has absolutely no observational effect, so these parallel worlds in classical phase space have no influence. That doesn't mean that they aren't there, but they have no purpose. So it remains, in this case, a totally hypothetical concept.
    It is nevertheless, a fun exercise in "parallel world thinking": how do we know that our "world" is the only point evolving in classical phase space ?
    Once there are these "several points" or this "density of world points", the question is: what does Joe experience ? Which Joe ? If you are "Joe" you are not "Joe's body" but ONE of the points in the phase space of Joe. So there is an association of your subjective, conscious experience, and ONE of the different points in phase space now.
    This wasn't an issue when there was only one point. Now, it is. You could say that the one you will experience is "drawn" from the statistical ensemble of points.

    MWI quantum theory is faced with a similar situation. We now have our unitary structure. In fact, we could even have several unitary structures, one for each different initial state ! But let's not complicate issues for the moment.
    As we saw, even in Newtonian physics, we have to specify the "degrees of freedom of an observer". So in MWI too. This corresponds in picking out the degrees of freedom of Joe's body (as in Newtonian physics).
    In QM, this corresponds to a sub-Hilbert space: H_Joe-body
    In fact, the overall hilbert space can be written as H_Joe-body (x) H_rest

    We now look at H_Joe-body. This hilbert space is spanned by all the different possible microstates of Joe's body. We can "coarse-grain" it, to lump it into subspaces which correspond to different conscious experiences of Joe.
    To each of these different states corresponds more or less a lump of points in the classical phase space of Joe's body.

    And now we apply a Schmidt-decomposition of the overall state (wavefunction) according to the split H_Joe-body (x) H_rest, but relump terms in the coarse-grained H_Joe-body space.

    It turns out that the Schmidt decomposition so effectuated, under the unitary time evolution, usually does not mix the different terms (unless specific quantum experiments are performed).
    Now, to each of these terms corresponds also a point (or lump of points) in the classical phase space of Joe, and the time evolution mostly corresponds to the Hamiltonian flow in the classical phase space. So we can say that a branch, or term of such a decomposition is equivalent to considering a "point" in the classical Joe phase space. We could even think of a kind of "distribution" of phase space points, with "weights" given by the Hilbert norm of the term corresponding to the (lump of) points. In other words, the Hilbert norm of each term in the wavefunction decomposition corresponds to the weight in a distribution of classical phase space points in Joe's body phase space.
    We seem to be in the "multi - point" situation of classical physics. Each of these points is a "branch" from the point of Joe.


    However, sometimes, the quantum evolution gives rise to interactions which "split" one phase space point into several (branching). This corresponds, in the classical case, in a lump of weight A to be split in lumps of weight A1 and A2 (so that A = A1 + A2).

    This comes about when the quantum evolution does not give rise to a strict hamiltonian flow on classical phase space ; in other words, when Joe observes a typical quantum phenomenon. It also occurs, as a "smearing out" of the "distribution of Joe points" over the phase space, as in classical chaotical Hamiltonian flow: the initial lumps smear out and split.

    So, from this PoV, MWI looks a lot like "multiple-point, or better: phase space density" evolution in classical phase space, and "consciousness" or subjective awareness, comes in because you have to PICK one of the Joe-points to be a "particular" Joe. This picking is stochastic, and has to occur according to the density of "Joe points" in the phase space (in other words, proportional to the Hilbert norm --> this is nothing else but the Born rule). The specific point chosen will then give you the corresponding "experience" that goes with it, the "observations" or "memory state" etc...

    There is still one difference with the "classical phase space density" in strict classical physics. The Hamiltonian flow in classical physics gives one and exactly one trajectory to a point in phase space. So once a specific point is "you", one can assume that "you" later will be associated with the same point. Things get more subtle in chaotic classical dynamics: a single point still has one and only one trajectory, but a LUMP of points might spread out. Is your conscious experience associated with one point, or with a lump ? What happens when the lump spreads out ? Do you "branch" into several possible states ?
    In the quantum case, the Hamiltonian flow is only approximative. Quantum spits happen. So in this case, a "single" observer will see his "blob in phase space" split, and hence will be drawn statistically to go with one or the other. This is the irreducible statistical character we seem to observe in quantum theory and which is not present in deterministic classical dynamics of phase space points.
    But it only comes about because of our mapping from the (deterministic) quantum state onto SEVERAL blobs of points on the classical phase space of the observer body, and our association of a conscious experience with these classical phase space points.

    The identification between body (= phase space of body) and an experience was only possible when there was one single point in phase space. When there are several points, there is a distinction between an experience (associated to a point) and the body (= a phase space).

    So, experiences, or "branches" or "worlds" correspond to POINTS in phase space, or states. If there are many points, well then there are many "worlds".

    But note that to consider this, and to even consider "branches" and "worlds", it was necessary to SAY what was an observer (to pick the body degrees of freedom).
    So these concepts are observer dependent.

    Objectively, there's only the overall unitary structure.

    As, in classical physics, objectively, there's only the overall phase space + Hamiltonian flow + point in phase space, or:

    overall phase space, + density + Liouville evolution of the density.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2006
  11. Jun 24, 2006 #10
  12. Jun 25, 2006 #11
    Sorry vanesch. You work so hard to give very long explanations, but I just don't buy any of the Multiple Worlds Interpretation.

    David Deutsche glosses over the "particles" upon which his whole logic stands. It is like saying financial transactions are caused by flying pennies, then when nobody can locate them, using them to build a tower of parallel universes.
     
  13. Jun 27, 2006 #12

    vanesch

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I don't ask you to buy anything, you know !

    The only thing I'm pointing out, is that the cornerstone, the founding principle, of quantum theory is the superposition principle. It is a very strange principle you might object to, but it forms the cornerstone of quantum theory, in the same way as the principle of relativity and the constancy of the speed of light form the cornerstone of SR, and the principle of equivalence and general covariance form the cornerstone of GR.

    Given this, the very basic principle of quantum theory tells you already that outcomes will be multiple (that when you flip a coin, that both results happen simultaneously). If you don't buy that, then you don't buy the cornerstone of quantum theory. ** I have no problem with that ** However, people usually have a double standard, and say that quantum theory *is* correct, *is* universally applicable etc.... and then refuse to consider the basic, universal application of its founding principle.

    It is my conviction that the correct interpretation of quantum theory is to take its founding principles seriously. That doesn't mean that this founding principle of quantum theory is also a principle of *our* universe ; one would in fact be inclined to say it isn't, because of the at first sight absurd conclusion to which it leads.
    And then one has to think a bit further, and ask oneself: how would a universe in which this principle WERE correct, look like ? What would be *OBSERVED* in such a universe, by creatures living there ? And then, it turns out, that by making some additional hypotheses about what creatures in a toy universe "experience", that it is not impossible to make this toy universe look exactly like ours. That doesn't prove of course that our universe has anything to do with that toy universe. It doesn't prove that the superposition principle is a correct principle of nature. And it doesn't prove that quantum theory is somehow "correct".

    However, it does indicate that the intuitive refusal of considering the superposition principle as even a viable idea, is only that: a gut feeling. It isn't rooted in any observation. It's just rooted in our desire for naive realism. Maybe our desire for naive realism is ultimately correct (in which case the superposition principle is, from the start, excluded, and hence quantum theory is a totally bogus theory based upon a totally crazy idea which doesn't apply). But it is not more than that, and this intuitive gut feeling might just be misled too, in the same way as once, we couldn't accept that man descended from the apes, or that the earth wasn't flat, or wasn't in the center of the universe. In all these cases, the right way to see that the "crazy proposal" isn't so crazy, was to try to imagine, in a toy universe where said crazy principle WAS postulated to hold, how things would look like. What would the sky and the motion of the planets look like when the earth turned around the sun ? How come people living in Australia do not "fall off" the earth ? Why don't we "feel the earth turn" ? etc...
    Now I'm well aware that these items are by far less "intrusive" into our intuition than what is asked for by MWI - it is another scale of denial of naive realism ("we don't feel the earth move, so it doesn't move", and "we see things turn around us, so we're in the center", and "the world looks flat to us, so it is flat"). But it is only that: a quantitative change.

    It is maybe possible to find other principles, and build other theories, that will result in empirically equivalent theories to quantum theory (or at least, empirically equivalent to those parts of quantum theory that have been tested). It is also possible to consider that the superposition principle is not universally applicable, but is an approximate idea that has a limited scope of applicability. But in all these instances, one cannot make the claim that quantum theory is a universal, and correct, theory.
    It remains to be seen how natural and powerful these other principles are, and in what way they are not just a cover-up of trying to avoid non-intuitive conclusions.

    My point is: it is not because a principle is highly un-intuitive (sounds crazy), that it is necessarily wrong. That doesn't make it right of course.

    My second point is: given the superposition principle of quantum theory: if you take it entirely serious, there's no escaping from MWI-like views.
    If the superposition principle is applicable to everything, including humans and apparatus, *by definition* there are "weird states" where you are at two places at once, because that is *the very content* of the superposition principle. The nice (or troubling ?) part of MWI is however, that even such "weird states" do not necessarily give rise to any contradiction in what an observer would observe. There are strong indications that an observer *would not notice* most of the time, any of this weirdness.

    I often outlined the parallel with general relativity. People don't seem to realise, but in the standard description of GR, yesterday and tomorrow exist on an equal footing with today in GR. Yesterday is not "gone" somehow, and tomorrow is not "still to come". It's all there, fixed in that 4-dimensional manifold.
    As such, you can wonder whether there are also not "parallel worlds" in GR, where at the same time, there is *a* you experiencing "today", while another "you" is experiencing "yesterday", and still another you is "experiencing tomorrow".
    This, in a toy universe where GR is strictly true, and where there *is* a genuine 4-dim manifold.

    Your "you" is just one of the different ones on your world line (in fact, you're changing continuously from one "you" to another "you", all of them being there, statically, on that 4-dim manifold).

    It seems that the only world we can intuitively accept (as naively real) is some variant of a Newtonian vision: there's a 3-dim space, there's a special moment in time, which is called "now", and all events that happen are for real, and unique.

    We cannot accept, apparently, that "yesterday" and "tomorrow" are just as real as "now" and co-exist, or that the events and their alternatives all happen but we are only aware of one "set". As such, we cannot accept the founding principles of all of 20th century physics.
    Maybe this is a good idea, and all of 20th century physics has been build upon totally wrong principles (which nevertheless turn out to crank out formalisms with strong empirical success). Or maybe we are too stubborn to understand that naive realism is, well, naive. Both options are possible, and I don't know which one is ultimately correct.

    But, *given* a theory, and asking for an interpretation of it, I always find it a wrong idea to start by saying that the founding principles of said theory are essentially wrong. As such, I find it a wrong idea to say that the superposition principle of quantum theory is wrong when trying to interpret quantum theory. Rather, I prefer to think of a toy universe where these principles are *correct* and then start imagining what this toy universe looks like. That's all I do when considering MWI.
     
  14. Jun 27, 2006 #13
    Thanks for that response vanesch. I do appreciate it.

    It's not that I don't accept superposition. In fact I think I accept it so much that I'm refuting position, and the particles that go with it. I now think of actions, and position now becomes ambiguous at best. IMHO we don't need MWI to explain superposition, just a different viewpoint. A more rounded viewpoint where we have a better concept of what we're dealing with. We need a glass table for your tossed coin, and then we can see that both results did happen simultaneously, without parallel universes.
     
  15. Jun 27, 2006 #14
    I also have a question regarding MWI (although I'm not sure if its actually a sensible question!). If I understand the interpretation correctly, then every time a system exists in a superposition of eigenstates with respect to a class of commuting observables then the universe splits into many copies such that when a measurement is performed only one eigenvalue is recovered in each universe?

    However, one could equivalently regard the original superposition of states as being a single eigenstate of another set of observables (which don't commute with the first). How does the interpretation handle this fact?
     
  16. Jun 27, 2006 #15
    the exponentiating field of quantum computing physically demonstrates every day that the MWI is the only tenable interpretation [that we currently have] because computations can be performed that use far more resources than the number of particles [or 'actions'] in this universe- all the possible states CANNOT be in one universe- there aren't enough observables here to account for the computation
     
  17. Jun 27, 2006 #16

    Hurkyl

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    How do you figure? Even in a universe with one particle, there are infinitely many linearly independent observables... and this is ignoring the complication that observables generally aren't limited to a finite set of possibilities.
     
  18. Jun 27, 2006 #17

    CarlB

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    I wasted 30 minutes of my time listening to the lecture that gave the "proof" that the MWI was the only possible and I regret it. Zapper gave you a bit too much of a beating for my liking, but the simple fact is that the MWI is an interpretation of quantum mechanics. It gives no results that differ in any way from that of standard quantum mechanics. Nor does quantum computation differ in its predictions from quantum mechanics.

    The amount of resources that are used in a quantum computer were also used in the earliest calculations of quantum mechanics of the 1920s. The MWI did not change this in any way.

    In standard classical mechanics the condition of a particle is represented by three position variables and three velocity or momentum variables for a total of 6 real degrees of freedom. In quantum mechanics, a particle is represented by a complex valued function (2 real variables) typically defined, for any given moment in time, over a region ([tex]\aleph^1[/tex] real variables).

    The increase in information contained in a quantum description over a classical description is incredible. There is nothing special in MWI in getting that sort of information.

    What MWI does is to take a very naive view of what "time" is, and use it to come to very naive conclusions about what the nature of the universe is. Not only does MWI not give anything new over prior theory, its ontology is even more confused than the usual interpretations.

    If you want to find out more about MWI, quit reading the crap written by its believers. Go pick up a copy of Bohm and Hiley's "The Undivided Universe", and read their critique of MWI.

    As to why QM and the MWI appear to give more degrees of freedom to the world than can possibly fit, I suggest that the answer is in the nature of time. Recall that Feynman once flirted with a theory that there was only one electron in the universe. The idea was that this single electron could go backwards and forwards in time in such a way as to fill out the (Bohmian) trajectories of all the electron wave functions that ever were.

    If that's too much, then cut that back down to a single electron. If you want to add up degrees of freedom for an electron, then you should consider the possibility that the electron does not see time in as restricted a way as you do.

    The essential mystery of quantum mechanics is that it consists of bundles of trajectories that influence each other. The "bundles of trajectories" is compatible with classical statistical mechanics (phase space and all that), but the "influence each other" is not. This is the central mystery of quantum mechanics, and from my point of view the MWI gives a particularly drunken explanation for it. Far better to suppose that the particle made the traversal many times over the same patch of "spacetime" and thereby influenced itself.

    In any case, going around claiming that MWI proves all other quantum mechanics interpretations wrong isn't winning you any converts. There are people out there who have been considering these problems for 75 years. It ain't that simple. If MWI were obviously the only solution, somebody would have a Nobel Prize already and MWI would be taught in school.

    Carl
     
  19. Jun 27, 2006 #18

    Doc Al

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I applaud your stamina... I only lasted about 15 minutes before throwing in the towel, muttering "give me a break" to myself.
     
  20. Jun 27, 2006 #19

    too bad or you would have seen for yourselves a demonstration of the MWI in the experiment- it'a at 40 minutes into the video where Deutsch SHOWS the experiment- in this experiment the Copenhagen interpretation predicts that BOTH photon detectors at the end will register half the time- MWI predicts that only the right detector will register because the other universes engaged in the experiment provide 'shadow photons' that force them all right- I had to watch this several times before the EUREKA moment sunk in- I suggest you do the same- this experiment is the basis for many types of quantum logic gates being used all over the world in quantum computing research- as of right now it's one of the most succesfully reproduced experiments in physics and is ONLY predicted by the MWI- Deutche's genius in using this simple set-up is nothing short of amazing- he's probably the smartest human being on the planet since Feynman or Minsky

    pretty ironic considering that David Deutsch IS actually on the fast track right now to winning a Nobel Prize for his multiverse discoveries in QM- and the text books ARE going to be changed- I will wager you RIGHT HERE that in 10 years every QM textbook will reflect the verification of the Everttian interpretation-

    as ever- I can only suggest that the rest of you get caught up with the state of the field as I have- this news is nearly a decade old now but even I have only been aware of this paradigm shift in QM for about a year and a half- before studying Deutsche's work I would have agreed with your guys for the most part- he will get to you too sooner or later-
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2006
  21. Jun 27, 2006 #20

    Seth Lloyd recently calculated that the observable universe represents 10^90 bits of information- all quantum computers built in the last 9 years up to 10 qubits have performed computations exactly as predicted by theory- this means that we will see how the multiverse must necissarily exist in a decade or two: the first 300 qubit quantum computer to perform Shor's algorithm will perform a computation that surpasses 10^90 classical bits [300 qubits= 2^300 classical bits= 10^90 bits]- 10^90 bits is all that the universe we can interact with can possible represnt- so to go beyond that demonstrates that particle states from other universe that are not part of the observable universe are helping to perform the computation- in fact only 300 bits of the 10^90 total in a 300 qubit quantum computation can be described as part of our universe- all supported by more empirical evidence than just about any scientific concept in human history: http://www.vcpc.univie.ac.at/~ian/hotlist/qc/research.shtml
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Many-Worlds Interpretation Issue
Loading...