Re: psi as a boundary breaking possibility

From: Darin Sunley (
Date: Fri Jul 14 2000 - 00:04:37 MDT

Scerir's post involving the use of quantum random number generators, etc...
in conjunction with "psi" phenomena caused a bunch of things I've been
reading to crystallize into a fairly complicated question.

First, some background.

I've just finished reading Chalmer's "The Conscious Mind." Towards the end
of that book Chalmers has a chapter in which he discusses several
interpretations of quantum mechanics and their relationship towards his
theory of consciousness. As I understand his theory, consciousness is one of
the postulated fundamental "things" in the universe, along with space/time
and mass/energy, but it is invariably associated with certain patterns of
matter/energy. Sort of straddling the fence between matieralism and dualism,
I thought. At least knowing where he was going made slogging through all the
epistimelogy easier :) He spends a significant part of this chapter on the
Everett Interpretation, which, as I understood it, says that, in lieu of
there being some mechanism associated with consciousness that causes spread
out probability waves to "collapse" into discrete conventional histories,
our minds are in the same superposition, and thus only perceive a small part
of the massive wave function that is reality.

I've also just recently re-read Greg Egan's Diaspora, in which (no spoilers)
femtomachines, the nuclear particle equivalent of molecular nanotechnology,
play a prominent role.

Molecular nanotechnonological devices are orders of magnitude too large to
experience quantum effects, but there seems to be no fundamental engineering
issues (that an SI couldn't resolve :)) preventing femtomachines being built
small enough to enter into quantum superpositions with other femtomachines,
or other particles of similar size.

Accordingly, postulate the existence of a femto-robot. A device
approxiamately the size of a large particle that can manipulate other
particles it's size and smaller, but be small enough to be swallowed in a
quantum superpsoition with other particles, like the particles that form the
bits in the register of a quantum computer.

What would be the effect on the robot's functioning, if any, if it is placed
into superposition with a series of particles, with preprogrammed
instructions to perform some manipulation of those particles within the
superposed state? What if the robot was placed in superpsotiion with another
robot with different programming? Of course I realize that the particles in
superposition must remain completely separated form the outside environment
for the duration of the superposition, but the examples I've seen (quite
reasonably) did not mention the possibility of particles with behavior
orders of magnitude more complex then the behavior of a normal electron :)

And what relation does any of this blue-sky speculation have to
non-locality, superposition, wave function collapse, and/or other quantum
phenomenon generally regarded as the most plausible physical causes of
whatever "psi" phenomenon may exist?

If anyone has any idea, or if anyone knows whether the whole mental model
that spawned this question is fundamentally broken :), by all means, let me

We learn by asking questions...
Darin Sunley
  From: scerir <>
  Well, a clean source of random numbers is, perhaps, also this one

  In the far future you could also use quantum analyzers, and you
  could also perform psi experiments by means of ... quantum robots!

  An interesting argument is the Reichenbach's common cause principle
  which is often called into question when they perform experiments about
  (quantum) nonlocality

  Classical (non quantum) nonlocality was sometimes theoretically showed
  (superluminal solutions of Maxwell field, etc.) i:e.

  A quantum-informational methodology (about cognitive,
  psychological, social ans anomalous! phenomena) was
  sometimes sketched, i.e.
  but I think that the s.c. *structural instability* criterion
  is more useful, if we want to build a consistent theory
  of psi phenomena.

  The Geneva quantum optics group is working
  very hard on nonlocality, *cosmic* frame, special relativity,
  a review article is:

  A very strange *ghost* nonlocality was also shown recently

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