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    1. #1
      Basketball Player kidjordan's Avatar
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      In Quantum Mechanics, what defines an observer?

      What defines an observer? Can this become a new Turing test for consciousness? If Schrodinger's cat were conscious, couldn't it collapse the wave function from inside the box?

    2. #2
      D.V. Editor-in-Chief Original Poster's Avatar
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      The observer is not really definable as it lacks all definitive qualities since it cannot observe itself to discover its own attributes.

      I don't really know if the cat's own awareness of its situation collapses the wave function for the outside observer, but I'd wager yes based on my experience of reality.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      I don't believe it matters how you observe things in the experiment. So if you take a picture and you are not in the room but then look at the picture later, it is the same as observing it yourself. So things can either report the result or can not report the result. And if they can report the result, you have no idea if they are aware or not, since even if they weren't the observer you would be. Which would make sense since you can't see atomic and subatomic things with your naked eye, and so people usually test stuff with equipment, and the equipment is never aware but still observes the results.

      So at best it would be used for a self test, but others can't judge your awareness by it.

    4. #4
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      Arra's Avatar
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      I know pretty much nothing about it, but I'm guessing the cat's observational abilities don't collapse the wave function, or that wouldn't be used as an example. The problem with it would be too obvious. I'm guessing that it's subjective. The cat might collapse the wave function for itself, but we can't observe what the cat does, so from the person's perspective outside the box, it's unknown whether the cat is alive or dead. The whole thing seems absurd to me. It seems to be implying that what we thought was the objective world is really subjective, or at least partly. I won't believe it until I hear more about it and it makes sense to me.

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      Member Tranquil Toad's Avatar
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      My knowledge of quantum physics is limited, but there seems to be a debate among scientist as to whether the observer means conscious observation, or is simply an aspect of the formula. An atom is a particle or wave depending on how you look at it with mathematics, but this does not necessarily mean consciousness is responsible for the change. Many don't want to make that leap.

      For the sake of conjecture, we'll go with consciousness for the cat experiment. There would be two cats simultaneously in parallel realities - one dead and one alive. From each perspective, that cat "collapsed the wave function." Its own observation took it to a reality where it lived or died. When you go to open the box, both cats exist, but you will only tune into one reality.

      The paradoxes dissolve when you understand infinity. All possible realities exist simultaneously. There are an infinite number of cats, but you only see one's based on your point of view. To the cat, there are an infinite number of you, but it only sees the one based on its point of view. Thus you can see how you create your reality, since you have infinite possibilities from which to draw.

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