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Double Slit Nightmare

July 19, 2006

Things like this keep me from sleeping at night. The quantum double slit experiment is freaky. But it could be put to good use, if only we accept it as correct (as I never will).

For instance, we could test cryptography algorithms. We record the information of which slit the light/electron is passing through, but instead of erasing it (to create the fringes), we encode it using some cryptography algorithm. IF the algorithm is unbreakable (provided we have erased the random-generated password), then we should see fringes. However, the experiment would not mean that the algorithm is really unbreakable - it would only mean that no one will ever break it, either because no one will ever try or no one will be able to. Either way, data should be safe forever.

Having a password to decrypt the information should also be useful for other things. Say we create a password, but never look at it. We beam the password to space by using radio signals and then erase any local version. What should the experiment look like? If there are fringes, it means we'll never recover the password or the universe (or we) will be extinguished before we are able to break the code. But it there are no fringes, this means password and data will be reunited! This could be done by many ways - we could in the future be able to travel faster than light, the beam could bounce back or an alien race could pick up the signal and have access to the data eventually. But if there are fringes, this means that we'll never recover the password. Indeed, if there are fringes, we would never try because we would believe it's impossible! Our beliefs can change the experiment's result, not only our knowledge.

The quantum double slit experiment can be used to predict some possible futures, or at least rule out possibilities. Such futures will be attached to our beliefs and knowledge, but are futures nonetheless. And predicting something we create should be a good thing. Or not.

ricardo at 8:47 PM :: ::