Tuesday, November 1, 2022

String Theory may Explain Consciousness

New paper:
Recent proposals in quantum gravity have suggested that unknown systems can mediate entanglement between two known quantum systems, if the mediator itself is non-classical. This approach may be applicable to the brain, where speculations about quantum operations in consciousness and cognition have a long history. ...

Our findings suggest that we may have witnessed entanglement mediated by consciousness-related brain functions. Those brain functions must then operate non-classically, which would mean that consciousness is non-classical.

Roger Penrose was widely mocked for advocating ideas like this. No one has made much progress on the problem of consciousness, and I am skeptical about this, and the next story.

Separately, I heard a rumor that a string theory prediction about holography has been confirmed in a quark-gluon plasma:

a big (not so well-kept) secret I heard the other day. Story goes that some accelerator lab (Fermi?) has been busy smashing heavy ion beams (Au nuclei?) together, creating a quark-gluon plasma. and measuring some QCD observable (say "A") of the chaos that ensues. According to a "holographic principle" (an AdS/CFT-type correspondence), A is equivalently described as some GR (or QG?) observable ("B") on the system comprised of a black hole that arises in the 5D spacetime forming the bulk (interior) of the shell on which the q-g plasma lives as a solution to the QCD equations. The Einstein equations for the evolution of the hole are solvable and B can be calculated. The lab has apparently successfully verified that the "predictions" given by the calculations of B agree with measurements of A. (Secret was leaked by Susskind in a recent talk which can be found on YouTube... my version includes a little reading between the lines and may not be completely accurate.... so I'll speculate further and guess that A is something like rate of change of temperature and B is something like rate of change in entropy, i.e., area of the event horizon. The plasma cools and the hole shrinks due to Hawking radiation?)

This is mind-blowing and, I think, of importance equal to, if not surpassing, that of the confirmation of GR by deflection of starlight during the 1919 eclipse... or of the finding of the Higgs.
I will be watching for more on this. Lenny Susskind gave some related lectures here and here.

Peter Woit has a new post trashing some related claims to testing string theory.

Scott Aaronson is claiming some new results about the complexity of the AdS/CFT correspondence. You have to skip over his previous blog post, where he describes the progressive thesis that he is aligned with:

just like at least a solid minority of Germans turned out to be totally fine with Nazism, however much they might’ve denied it beforehand, so too at least a solid minority of Americans would be fine with — if not ecstatic about — The Handmaid’s Tale made real. Indeed, they’d add, it’s only vociferous progressive activism that stands between us and that dystopia.

And if anyone were tempted to doubt this, progressives might point to the election of Donald Trump, the failed insurrection to maintain his power, and the repeal of Roe as proof enough to last for a quadrillion years.

I have never even heard of any Trump supporters who want anything like The Handmaid's Tale. Only liberals watch the show and read the bood, as far as I know. Also there was no insurrection, and no repeal. Abortion law was merely returned to the democratic process. Aaronson sounds like a parody of a left-wing lunatic. I sometimes wonder if he is serious.

1 comment:

  1. Roger,
    Perhaps a few folks on the left should remember which political party Hitler was a member of. I am deeply amused that (Ieft leaning) academics think they can disdainfully slide the concepts of totalitarianism and authoritarianism off their plates into being 'conservative'. Neither concept is conservative, neither is nationalism or fascism. Socialism and communism are essentially just highly toxic flavors of Marxism, one is just more brutally honest and open and in a hurry to assert domination than the other.

    My high school history teacher didn't have the cohones to even mention which political party actually supported slavery during American history, or mention which political party favored Adolf's rise to power...or even admit who was writing adoring fan mail to him. Strange how incredibly intelligent people on the left seem to almost revel in their ability to gaslight people into doing what they want more than educating them.