SSE Talks – Macroscopic Quantum States? – Sky Nelson


Retroactive Event Determination and the Interpretation of Macroscopic Quantum Superposition States in Consistent Histories and Relational Quantum Mechanics

We suggest a pair of postulates which unify two current models of quantum theory into a broader picture of reality, giving a physical interpretation of Macroscopic Quantum Superposition (MQS) states. Relational Quantum Mechanics (Rovelli, 1996) (RQM) and Consistent Histories (Griffiths, 2003) (CH) are discussed and related to the postulates. By dropping the assumption that unobserved macroscopic events are “in a definite state” determined independent of an observer, we arrive at a surprising but consistent theory of quantum macroscopic reality (with fewer fundamental assumptions about everyday reality) that does not contradict experiment or everyday experience. As a result, a concept herein termed “retroactive event determination” is identified as a quantum principle (in CH) and extended to a macroscopic principle. The implications of this on the flow of time, the phenomena of synchronicity and the question of fate versus free will are discussed. Finally, we look at how similar concepts are already in use in the design of multiplayer online video games, in order to create an efficient and consistent “virtual reality.”

Recorded at the 29th annual SSE Conference in 2010 in Boulder, Colorado, USA.

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Published on May 5, 2011