Superluminal Loopholes and Other Reality Hacking

by Keith Kenemer on August 19, 2012

Each period in history comes with its own paradigm of how the physical world operates. The deterministic, clockwork universe of Newton’s day has given way to the modern information-centric view of the world as a vast computer. If our reality is a computation, then we know it must be a quantum computation, and this comes with many new counterintuitive features such as superposition, entanglement, and non-locality, all of which provide novel opportunities for reality hacking.

We already know that quantum computers have transcended the limits of classical Turing machines, which our digital computers are modeled after: they can break RSA asymmetric encryption, perform ultra-fast database searches, encode information more efficiently, perform quantum teleportation, etc. When quantum computers become practical some day, it will almost certainly have a major impact on society.

Imagine a world where we could send information instantaneously across any distance, receive information from the future and effectively engineer any reality we want. The current thinking is that this is out-of-reach even for quantum processes. There are theorems that ‘prove’ it to be impossible and, of course, there is Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity that places the speed of light as the limit on how fast physical bodies and information can move though space-time.

Nevertheless, there are still those who are not completely convinced it is impossible. After all, in the quantum computing paradigm, time is reversible—irreversibility only appears to arise after quantum systems undergo decoherence , i.e. interaction with the environment. The system as a whole is still reversible. Also, the non-locality of quantum mechanics makes it seem that nature has the ability of instantaneous information transfer but is unwilling to share it with us.

Recently I’ve been talking with Jack Sarfatti about his idea for superluminal communication. His idea is to use two coherent (Glauber) states and entangle them with a normal qubit (such as a trapped ion). Coherent states have an interesting feature of being non-orthogonal yet are still distinguishable, among others. Two communicating parties, conventionally known as Alice and Bob, may be able to use this scheme for superluminal communication, as the modulation of the coherent states controlled by Alice would bias Bob’s qubit state. There are a few quirks with the scheme: there is a normalization anomaly, which Jack believes is a violation of the Born probability rule and the quantum mechanical formalism produces slightly different answers depending on the exact way the calculation is performed (even across ‘equivalent’ methods). Nevertheless, all calculations do show a modulation term and this seems to indicate something interesting is going on.

Here is my calculation, which agrees with Sarfatti’s—note the Alice-controlled modulation term biasing Bob’s qubit in the final result…

The joint state of Alice and Bob is:

where:

The density matrix is:

Due to the non-zero overlap of Alice’s coherent states

we consider the probability of Bob’s qubit collapsing onto B to have contributions from both of Alice’s coherent states:

Calculating the first term, we have:

Using the tensor-product identity

and noting the orthogonality of

we see that all terms except the first drop out and so we have:

Calculating the second term:

we see that all terms except the first drop out as previously, resulting in:


Combining terms, we get the following expression:

which, for the special case of

becomes

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The Enigma of Everything and Nothing

by Keith Kenemer on February 19, 2012

Take a step in any direction. Look around. Everything has shifted its position from your perspective. Simple enough…but think about it for a moment…It’s not just that everything moved, but what’s amazing is that EVERYTHING did. Imagine that you are looking up at the stars on a clear night and you realize that with every step you take, you are moving the entire universe relative to you. Who knew you had so much power? As it turns out, it is much easier to move the entire universe than a significant portion of it, paradoxically. You could probably justify this result by noting how the negative energy of the gravitational field cancels the positive energy of all the light and matter, leaving the entire universe with a net energy very close to zero. But we don’t need to do this—we’ve empirically shown it to be true.

Imagine a library that contains every possible book that can be written in the Latin alphabet. Some books contain a single character while others are infinitely long. Some contain fascinating stories, while others are pure gibberish. How much information does this library contain? An infinite amount? It actually contains zero information. There is an indexing problem with this infinite library—as you begin specifying the book you want, there are always an infinite number of variations to select from. In the end, the only way to completely specify a particular book is to write it yourself! So, the library of all possible books actually contains no information. (see also ‘Welcome To the Multiverse’)

I believe the mystery of everything-and-nothing lies at the very heart of the nature of reality. It is what allows the world to bootstrap itself from the void and why there almost certainly must exist parallel universes or an infinite universe with infinite variation, which is essentially equivalent in my mind. The world is made of an infinite set of possibilities of which we see only a tiny fraction through the window of our mind and senses.

It’s easy to forget about this ocean of possibility as we go about our daily lives. But, in fact, every choice we make creates whole new worlds. Every choice about where to go to school, what job to take, who to marry, and what to do with your life creates a world, or more precisely, unveils a pre-existing world in the infinite possibility space. If you have a child, you have created a new world—his or her mind will have a unique perception of the world which will become the world to them.

It is our interpretation of reality that creates it for us. The world is a set of relationships and for us this means a set of experiences. I suppose there is an objective reality but it is essentially formless, abstract, containing no real information or net energy–its existence, tenuous. All of the interesting aspects of reality come from our interpretation of it…

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Inner Experience, Outer World

by Keith Kenemer on February 9, 2011

The Intangible Mind

The mind is the source of all experience and the lens through which we see external reality. It is the greatest mystery of all because everything is contained within the mind in some sense. Our minds have an intangible aspect and a mechanistic aspect, but this does not imply Cartesian dualism at all–I will propose a view that is hopefully less offensive to the modern scientific paradigm by replacing the mind/world dualism with a mind/world duality.

 With Cartesian dualism, we are asked to believe in an immaterial mind and a material external world, and this creates an unbridgeable gap between the mind and the physical world. This formulation is inherently unscientific, logically inconsistent, and it violates fundamental physical principles—e.g. how can a non-physical mind have a physical effect on the body? If something can produce a physical effect in the world isn’t it physical by definition?  

 Although dualism falls short as a theory of mind, it is somewhat understandable why people are tempted by it. Despite all of our modern scientific progress, the nature of our subjective experience remains elusive. The ‘hard problem’ of consciousness is to explain how physical processing can produce the rich internal subjective experience we all share, which philosophers refer to as qualia. There does seem to be a gap between subjective and objective reality.

 A scientific paradigm describes the world in objective, quantitative terms that are true for all observers while subjective experience seems to be uniquely accessible only by the individual. How can I know that your internal experience is the same as mine?  Is my experience of red the same as yours?  Is there any information that can convey the sensation of seeing the color red to someone with total color blindness? How could the mind construct these raw experiences?

Mind/World Duality and the Multiverse

 When one reflects on the nature of internal subjective experience, it seems self-evident (to me at least) that no external measurement can fully capture the richness of it. Any observation of electrical activity of the brain does not capture the internal experience of the mind, it is merely a projection.

From the outside, there is always an ambiguity in what the internal reality/experience is.

A metaphor for this is the quantum wavefunction: Any observation of a quantum system results in the wavefunction apparently ‘collapsing’ onto one of its eigenvectors. The full multidimensional nature of the wavefunction can never be seen by any measurement, it will always just show an aspect of itself that coincides with the choice of measurement basis.  

 There is a duality that exists between the internal and external reality. My own internal subjective experience is known to me but there is an ambiguity in what the underlying physical embodiment of my mind is. For example, I may really exist only within a computer simulation and my ‘brain’ could just be a computer process running somewhere here or anywhere else in the universe. If we take into account the multiverse, the possibilities become even more expansive, and there becomes an infinite number of physical ‘implementations’ or mind simulations that occur which are consistent with my subjective experience. In fact, the underlying physical encoding of my mind could be changing from moment to moment and the associated computational hardware could be scattered across the multiverse.

From the inside, there is always an ambiguity in what the external/objective reality is.

Subjective continuity results from having a sequence of correlated experiences and within the multiverse, the space of all variations, there is always an inexhaustible source of physical structures to encode any subjective experience and so subjective continuity of experience is supported.

Quantum Metaphor for Mind

 This mind/world duality is the same type of duality that appears in quantum mechanics and Fourier analysis. For example, in quantum mechanics the momentum-basis and the position-basis are related via the Fourier transform, thus a well-defined position corresponds to a superposition (sum) of momenta and a well-defined momentum corresponds to a superposition of positions. Position and momentum are therefore complementary to each other and cannot both be simultaneously well-defined as we already know from the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. Similarly, the time domain and frequency domain are complementary in signal processing, resulting in the inherent tradeoff in time vs. frequency resolution.       

 If we utilize a quantum metaphor for mind, then any subjective experience is a superposition of all possible physical objects and their states that can potentially encode the experience.

 This means the internal subjective reality and the external objective reality cannot be simultaneously well-defined. Any attempt to measure the mind from the outside will only show an ‘observable’, i.e. it will detect only one component within the superposition, showing an apparent ‘physical’ aspect of the mind. In this metaphor, subjective experience is the wavefunction and the physical processes which potentially encode the mind are the possible eigenstates of the wavefunction. In physics, the wavefunction is generally regarded as a complete description of a physical system and so the quantum metaphor for mind merely adds the idea that this complete description encompasses the internal subjective experience for those systems complex enough to possess self-awareness.  In the Many Worlds and other ‘no-collapse’ interpretations of quantum mechanics the wavefunction always exists in superposition and this is true for objects of any size, from electrons all the way up to the universe itself.

Another useful concept from quantum mechanics that may be employed is the idea of entanglement. Entanglement occurs when one or more quantum systems such as electrons or other particles interact in such a way that they become strongly correlated to each other. The resulting interdependency runs so deep that the particles can no longer be described individually but instead must be treated as a single ‘holistic’ system, i.e. the wavefunction can no longer be written as a tensor product of individual quantum states. The entanglement concept may provide some clues to the mysteries of qualia.

Direct Experience

 One of the pervasive themes in eastern thought is the idea of transcending the abstraction of logical thought and directly experiencing reality itself. Being told about the ocean and experiencing it yourself are two very different things. Our internal experiences are so rich and mysterious, raw, seemingly irreducible, and private that they are very difficult to quantify and place within a reductionist framework. Does the mind construct qualia? Or does it somehow ‘connect’ or tune in to a pre-existing external quality of experience?

 If we continue with the quantum metaphor for the mind, then perhaps we can view qualia in terms of entanglement between the observer and the system being observed.

 The superposition of all possible physical objects/states that potentially encode the subjective experience of the observer become irreducibly interwoven with the set of all possible physical objects/states that potentially encode the observed system.

Therefore, the subjective experience and indeed the identity of the observer itself become irreducibly interdependent with the observed system. The joint (observer+observed) system results in a new and expanded subjective experience and a new set of possible physical encodings. Therefore, qualia is the shared internal experience of the (observer+observed) system and so is not merely ‘constructed’ by the observer’s mind—indeed the experience does not have any definite spatial or temporal location due to the nonlocal encoding across the multiverse. There is nothing more direct than this complete and irreducible intertwining of the subjective and objective aspects of the observer and observed system to form a new and richer identity and experience.

 The Boundless Mind

 If there is any truth in these speculations then every aspect of our being and the world is truly awe-inspiring. Each thought represents no less than an infinity of supporting physical structures used to encode it and each experience weaves these together into a higher order of infinity so rich and complex that it defies any finite attempt to quantify it. 

Perhaps we’ve always known this truth but have struggled to describe it in a way that stays true to our deepest intuitions as well as the pure light of reason and rational thought…

 “If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite” –William Blake

 

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Welcome to the Multiverse

by Keith Kenemer on August 3, 2010

 Welcome

They say that life is a series of awakenings. It is a process of discovery about yourself and your relationship to the world around you. Some realizations are so profound they change your worldview forever, especially those which challenge the core views of our own nature and the nature of reality which gives rise to the external world.

The process of discovery is not limited to individuals but also occurs in the macrocosm of society as well. When science discovered that our earth is not the center of everything, it came as a surprise. It was also a revelation when we discovered that our sun is just one star in a galaxy with billions of other stars, and that our Milky Way is just one galaxy within the universe, which happens to contain billions of other galaxies as well.

We had become insignificant in the grand scheme of things, a blue speck in an ocean of darkness punctuated only by dim points of light from other suns unimaginably far away.

One of the interesting things about the process of discovery is that it never ends. Perhaps our enlightened view of reality may yet be too limited. Why limit ourselves to just one universe? Perhaps there are more…perhaps infinitely more. It is this thought which is gaining an ever-increasing following among scientists and philosophers because of its great utility in solving difficult conceptual problems in modern physics. It is also an idea which I have come to believe is true and which provides an endless source of inspiration.

The set of all universes is called the ‘multiverse’—it is within this infinite realm of possibility space that we find ourselves to be…welcome…

Reasons to Believe

There are many reasons to believe in the multiverse, some are scientific and others philosophical–I will outline those which are compelling to me personally. These items will no doubt serve as inspiration for future articles on RealityCipher. [click to continue…]

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Reality and Truth

June 7, 2010

The Whole Truth There is no idea or principle which captures the whole truth. No one has a monopoly on truth, it is free to anyone with the capacity to see it. All belief systems have limitations and define boundaries but these reality-maps are not reality and only the world itself is sacred. What do [...]

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