Warning: this is a slightly longer and more meandering post than usual. Hopefully, you will find it worth your time. Thanks!
A simple question, quantum computing, and revisionist history
At my 30th college reunion, I struck up a conversation with a classmate who was kind enough to try to explain quantum computing to me. He explained that is uses superposition of non-binary qubits and a variety of possible quantum gating methods to better solve problems like cryptography and perhaps even consciousness emulation. Drawing from of non-determinism and quantum entanglement, the counterintuitive themes of Quantum Theory used in this nascent form of computing translate into ideas like nothing is for sure unless you observe it, and even when you look at it, it doesn’t necessary resolve into one discreet meaning, and finally, the interrelations of things can be co-variable across illogical spans of time and distance via entanglement.
Just now, while standing in the ticketing line at the airport, a boy of about 10 years asked what appeared to be his mom a question that triggered this blog. He asked his mom, “What would it take to go around the world?” This was wedded with the Facebook article I read entitled “space and time could be a quantum error correcting code” and that was how this blog was born.
We will first discuss quantum mechanics and why its not a very good name for a rather profound and complex endeavor. Then, we will discuss the boy’s question and the hidden fuzzy structures underlying natural language and consciousness. Finally, we will explain how shared humanity is actually the quantum reality in which we live and how physical reality what keeps quantum reality from spinning dangerously out of control a la 1984’s memory hole and the false simulation of the movie, The Matrix.
Quantum Mechanics is neither quantum nor mechanical- discuss amongst yourselves.
The titans of quantum mechanics, which is really just a fearless pursuit into the fundamental nature of reality, said they understood less as they began to learn more and more. Yet they maintained a few core principles: there aren’t continuous ranges to reality but that things manifest into discreet states or quanta that can be understood as probability distributions; this means that everything from electromagnetic frequencies emitted from heated metals to the things that subatomic particles break into when collided against each other at the speed of light are discreet and non-random; they are quantized.
Of course, as the Greek philosopher Heraclitus posited, there may always be a smaller order to things and the nano-elephant in the room is that perhaps some day, even the subatomic particles and the irreducible Plank length will be resolved into smaller pixels and mere probabilities. If you set your terms small enough, maybe the quantum universe looks continuous, random, and uniform.
“Mechanics” implies engineering, gears, energies, and the reassuring world of math as a way of describing the physical world. Scientists in the early 20th century and their heirs have looked deeply into the nature of reality and they have concluded that reality at a fundamental level differs from the observable sense-real world that we rely upon. The Facebook article says that space and time emerge from quantum weirdness to act as a error correction mechanism; without the so-called “objective” world, we would all be free to create divergent realities. Madman or Bodhisattva, Liberal or Conservative- when we hammer a nail through our hand, there will then be a nail in our hand.
Interestingly, experiments like the one Einstein devised show that our dichotomy of waves versus particles is false leading us to question our categories and dichotomies as I blogged about here. Deciding things either behave like waves or particles was a rookie mistake in my very humble opinion. I do believe they got the Luminiforous Ether question wrong and are now rebranding it as dark matter but that is another blog.
The weirdness of quantum mechanics reveals itself in several ways: firstly, the Shrodinger’s Cat thought experiment where the critter is both alive and dead until we open the box and look serves as an all-purpose allegory for the Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. Even more strangely, the “arrow of time” is not absolute; in other words, observable reality actually changes and recreates an alternate past. I will demonstrate this “sleight of hand” if you make it until the end of this blog. So quantum theory is hardly mechanical but strangely, very logical and intuitive when you think about the world we spend the most of our lives in: human stories.
Around the world in 80 ways:
The boy’s question made me realize that human consciousness and its servant, natural language, is weirdly quantum in nature. That is why it is so hard for brute force AI like Watson and even binary-based natural language AGI. Upon hearing the question, the many parallel processors in our consciousness makes probabilistic, non-deterministic assumptions and plans a strategy that is contingent upon the feedback that we may receive. Even more interesting are the meta-significance of the question that may explode into an unshared conversation in our own heads like “is he bored? Is he worried about money because I complained about the cost of the ticket?” “Does this have to do with that disturbing ‘flat earth’ video he was watching?”
The unresolved nuances of how his question forever alters their relationship are a normal part of the human experience. In contrast, here is how AGI (artificial general intelligence) might tackle his question:
“What would it take…” is probably idiomatic so do not answer literally with browser openings, travel websites, airplanes, and airports as in the case of this silly Facebook question and response. He probably means “what is involved”; still an open ended question. He probably means some combination of time, money, effort, and logistics. I will ask the boy which one these permutations means or just answer with “two flights, $2000, and about 36 hours to return to the same airport based on your browser cookies.”
Yet to his mom, he may be asking all of them, most of them, or not even know what he means by the question. He may just be asking “Gee mom, if this is hard, what would it feel like to go around the world?”, which is really more of an empathetic interjection and expression of love for her.
Consciousness and discernment are why people are better at decoding reality than machines, We are flexible and capable of active learning in novel situations. I refer you to this recent blog about a treasure hunt that could have been more easily hacked by using clues, intuition, interpolation, and extrapolation. Another example would be guessing personal passwords. As a quantum human computer, I would simply ask you to provide some examples of old passwords, then get a few data, and then look at the requirements of the site’s password.
First, is there a pattern? The simplest is people who always use the same variation of a password for everything. It might involved birthdates and significant years, names of children, and god forbid, the actual word “password”. The second pattern is a user that includes the name of the site in the password as a mnemonic and combines other obfuscation techniques like foreign language word substitution, spoonerisms, letter substitution and reordering. Luckily people tend to use the same encryption rules, numbers, sequencing, order of capitalization, and special symbols. If there is a hidden logic in their tendencies, it will reveal itself to the flexible mind.
The point here is not that I am not any better than you at guessing passwords; it is just that I know most are too lazy to use this passwords like “K*h4y9#dsP” and as human quantum computers with organic general intelligence, we can discern patterns quicker than machines. I am a little skeptical that using the current hardware and software gating these computer scientists are ever going to invent something as be as smart as you and I when it comes to understanding things that have never been learned based on rules that have yet to be determined, for reasons that may not ever be clear.
Walk like an Egyptian
Last weekend, I was with my roommate whose name is “Farol”. I spent years creating a screenplay based in Alexandria and read all the extant sources. There wasn’t much as people in 371CE didn’t have Instagram, webpage archives, and petabytes of storage . When I think of Farol, I think of Spanish for lantern, which is a derivation of Faros or lighthouse, which is from Pharos, which is what the Alexandria lighthouse was called because a Greek dude allegedly asked an Egyptian person around 331 BCE “who owns this island?” and the man replied “its the Pharoah’s”. When I “googled” the lighthouse years ago while writing a screenplay about Hypatia, I was amazed to find there were no accurate representations. It’s not that they didn’t exist; no one had bothered to upload, fact check, and curate. On the left is what I found around 2010; on the right is what it looked likes today all over the internet.
When we visited the museum of the Vatican, there were many instances of statues of Serapis, the syncretic patron god of Alexandria for nearly eight hundred hears. He is recognizable by the basket atop his head yet at the time of my visit in 2014, none of theme actually were labeled correctly; they were labelled as Zeus. In the now defunct language of SAT analogies: Virgen of Guadalupe is to Mexican Catholics as Serapis is to Coptic Hellenized Alexandrians. At any rate, Serapis, the city’s god for 800 years, was now “memory holed” in the Vatican museum gallery and no longer referred to by his man-given name.
The reason I bring this up is that I played a video game called “Assassins’ Creed: Origins” and they created a 3D rendering of Alexandria from the time that I studied. I immediately took my character up the lighthouse and gazed back at the wonderfully recreated city that I had imagined.
Next, I visited the Serapheum (temple of Serapis), where the opening scene of my screenplay takes place during a historical upheaval of Christians vs. pagans. in 371CE. This confrontation led to the seizure of power of the Christians over the traditional Hellenic faith and was codified in the Theodosian Decrees, outlawing non-orthodox Christian religions.
Finally, I explored the Soma, where I saw the sarcophagus of Alexander the Great. This was allegedly buried by Emperor Septimus Severus in 199CE and perhaps someday it will be uncovered. After that, people forgot its actual location which would be like a New Yorker not knowing where Grant’s tomb and Central Park were.
In the world of the game, it all seemed so real and I started to create false memories and confirmations that the layout, design, and all other details were accurate instead of a facsimile.
My point is that the reality that we live in and the “fake news” we accept as truth are just an group delusion emerging from limited imagination, bandwidth, storage, and curation.
If you wanted to erase Serapis from history, expunge a demigod’s relics (bones) like Alexander, or rebrand MLK Jr. as a scoundrel, you can do it with the click of a mouse these days.
I recall sitting in a group discussion with a husband and wife who worked for Mi-5 and Mi-6 respectively as they discussed the war against terrorism. When the virtue of mass surveillance was extolled, I proposed that the lack of shame in a modern surveillance states is actually the hope at the bottom of the Pandora’s Box of post Patriot Act nullification of the Fourth Amendment. Winston and Julia of 1984 being shamed for an affair is not a plot device that even makes sense in the world we currently live in.
In this day when people release their own sex tapes, everyone knows Kate will take William back, and J-Ko will forgive A-Rod. Everyone knows every president save Jimmy Carter was unfaithful…it seems like another underhanded and feckless trick to drag a great man like King through the mud; especially considering the source of the allegation was the Hoover FBI that sent King letters to blackmail him and encourage suicide.
It is said, we don’t yet have blockchain history to preserve the facts of space and time. Blockchain provides for decentralized, independently verified and curated ledgers of facts. It is said that the “Gypsies” or Romani peoples originated from the entertainers of Alexander’s armies while campaigning in India; they followed him back to Egypt. It is further said they were the acolytes of Serapis’ temple and that the “Gyp” comes from Egypt. It is also said that many of them, like the Armenians, were genocided by the Nazis and have gradually merged into dominant cultures. The haplotyping “science” clearly suggests an Indian origin to the Romani people.
As I was gleefully and virtually exploring the world of Alexandria circa 200BCE in my video game, I was suddenly filled with a little sadness as it slowly dawned on me that although all my favorite buildings were there and in the right places, there was something deeply wrong with this reality. It was too orderly, perfect, and discreet. Then it hit me: where were the houses of the people? Where was the squalor? Where would the actual people have lived and worked? Reality is complex; a video game simulation and anything created my current tech is quantized, fake, and an oversimplification.
In a world where people create programs to put fake cancerous lymph nodes onto CAT scans…
…and where Mi-6 funded NGOs like the White Helmets win Academy awards for staging chemical attacks in Syria, don’t you think that reality as a quantum correction device is needed?
If they can destroy Alexander’s bones, “memory hole” his city’s own god, and the destroy the 2400 year history, language, and culture of the Romani people, what do you think they can do with you emails, personal finances, political allegiances, and other liberties?
Quantum reality shift warning:
What if I told you that after the boy asked “What would it take to go around the world?” his mom turned to the boy, grabbed him by the shoulders, and shrieked “I told you you are never going to see your father again! He abandoned us!”
Now, the question of “What would it take to go around the world” takes on a new and complete back story, right? That is the power of human quantum computing. You just “got it” in a way that a machine, never would have. In objective reality, no worm hole to an alternate reality was torn into the fabric of space time. You just chose to think about it a little differently. The qubits in your brilliant quantum computer all shifted and are entangled differently now when called up by the thousands of parallel brains in your brain.
We’ve got to depend on the facts, intuition, and integrity to keep our shared humanity from splintering and spinning into alternate realities by those that would use fear, greed, shame, heartache, silence, confusion, and materialism to keep us divided. According to the image in the header of the blog, when entanglement (i.e. connectedness) is reduced, the universe weakens and starts to disappear.
Our human consciousness is not mechanical but rather is based on shared resonance and entanglement. Consciousness is how we experience those shared assumptions. But objective reality thankfully does exist and keeps our constantly revised versions of reality from destroying each other on contact. Repeating a lie doesn’t, as propagandist Josef Goebbels would wish, alter reality; it just leads a certain group of people to be fearful of stating what their intuition and senses tell them.
I like historical figures that were universally known by their contemporaries yet mere footnotes now. I think the way in which they are disappeared and resurrected reveals a lot. It’s like the Christian apologetics of a Pagan-dominated area serve as the negative space from which we infer dominant religious contemporaneous thought. Sadly, the machines are so pervasive now that if I wanted to completely rewrite history, it would only take minimal effort to get you to believe anything.
Someday I may only find incorrect images of the Lighthouse, learn that the USS Bonhomme Richard defeated the HMS Zeus (not the HMS Serapis) in the Revolutionary War, and that the Gypsy people never even existed…and I will doubt my own memory of the many Romani patients I used to have in my practice.
Maybe it doesn’t matter much to you and maybe it doesn’t even matter much to them anymore; but there once existed a people who persevered, were targeted, and now are nearly extinct. The Armenians will tell you that genocide happens and it isn’t always even admitted to. Yes, we are one human family and what I do to you diminishes me. But along the way to social justice, let us not resort to gas lighting, genocide, and weaponization of the quantum nature of language and thought to serve people who are dangerously separated from their own humanity.
By the way, the mom in line at the airport never even answered the kid and I only made up the stuff about the father abandoning them. Do you see how powerful narratives can be and how easily manipulated they are? The only thing we can control is the past and as Orwell said, the present is where we fight for control.