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But what if you viewed the cat in the box as the observer? You keep the box around the cat and to the cat the rest of the universe is in a superposition of states. As long as you keep the cat very simple, the box around it is just as small as for a similar cat acting as a computer, and it's just as easy or hard to keep information from leaking into the box as it is to keep it from leaking out. But now instead of your computation being limited by the complexity of the cat, the outside universe is the computer, and it's much more powerful. From the cat's point of view, the outside universe would need to do some computation based on some initial random data taken from quantum measurements and it would have to send the results into the box in a superposition with the results from all the other versions of the outside universe. The cat would just have to collect the superposition of the results and distill it to the useful result, just as the outside universe has to do with the results from a quantum computer before the superposition collapses.

If such a thing could be done, it would be a lot more powerful than a standard quantum computer. Quantum computers are limited by the size of the box because as the box gets bigger, it becomes harder to keep information from leaking out. With a reverse quantum computer, the part inside the box doesn't have to do the computation, it just has to handle the superposition of the results to form a final result. The size of the box would limit the number of bits in the answer, not the amount of computation that could be done.

And superpositions of the rest of the universe can do other things besides computation. They can do searches. For example, suppose there's some lost treasure known to be buried somewhere in Texas. With a reverse quantum computer, you'd lock the cat in the box, then use quantum measurements to randomly choose one place in Texas to dig a hole. Then you send the cat the suitably encoded information about where you dug and whether you found the treasure or not. One of the many versions of the outside-the-cat universe that are in superposition will have found the treasure, and the cat will be able to communicate this information to all the universes.

Could this possibly work, even in theory? Is there some theoretical problem with this that I'm missing?

Thanks in advance for any feedback!