About This Project
A recently published, peer-reviewed paper by scientists from NASA/JPL and Cal Tech describes novel protocols to determine if the reality that we experience is information-based. We investigate this question based on the assumption that if the system performing the simulation is finite (i.e. has limited resources), then to achieve low computational complexity, such a system would (as in a video game) render reality only at the moment that information becomes available for observation.
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What is the context of this research?
This research is done in the context of the recent movement towards digital physics and information-based cosmology. In popular science, this movement has come to be known variously as 'the simulation theory' and 'the holographic model'. The basic idea, that our world may be a computer generated environment, is gaining support because it offers explanatory power in regards to issues in the standard model, such as the measurement problem, non-locality, and the anthropic principle.
What is the significance of this project?
If erasing recorded which-way information in the single-photon interference setup restores interference pattern formation, then the traditional QM explanation that the detectors themselves are causing decoherence will be eliminated. This would form a demonstration that wavefunction collapse is caused by information availability, and support the thesis that reality is rendered at the point when information becomes available for observation, and not at the moment of detection by a machine (which would be part of the simulation, and whose detection would also be part of the internal computation performed by the simulation's server.) Such a demonstration would be novel, and of immediate interest to the scientific community.
What are the goals of the project?
1. Acquisition, assembly and calibration of experimental apparatus.
2. Performance of selected procedures and collection of data. Specifically, to document the state of change in single-photon pattern formation depending on the on/off state of which-way information data recording. Most succinctly; does switching the data recorder off restore interference pattern formation?
A positive result would be the restoration of interference pattern formation when the which-way data recorder is switched off. A negative result would be persistent particle pattern formation, regardless of the on/off state of the data recorder. While a negative result would not necessarily invalidate the entire simulation hypothesis, it would require a fundamental re-think of the underlying assumptions.
These are the minimum required components for the experimental set-up needed to perform the selected procedures as described in the paper, to determine if the single-photon pattern formation (particle or interference) is dependent on the on/off state of the which-way data recorder.
Feb, 2018 - Secure funding, begin equipment acquisition.
March, 2018 - Begin apparatus assembly/calibration.
April, 2018 - Begin experimental trials.
May, 2018 - Conclude experiments, begin analysis.
June, 2018 - Complete analysis, begin write-up.
July, 2018 - Submit findings for publication
Dec 15, 2017
Mar 01, 2018
All apparatus components received
Apr 20, 2018
Assembly and calibration complete
Apr 30, 2018
Begin Experimental Trials
May 25, 2018
Conclude experiments, begin analysis
Meet the Team
Kent Forbes, PhD
Kent Forbes is an interdisciplinary scholar, researcher and filmmaker. As Writer/Director of "The Simulation Hypothesis", he has an interest in experimental protocols that can verify or invalidate information-based models of reality. Dr. Forbes has received the blessing of lead author and retired NASA physicist Tom Campbell to conduct this research.
Education: Doctorate in industrial engineering, University of Palermo (Italy), 1946;
M.E.E., Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, 1952
Experience: 35 years with Bell Labs, as a technical department head for the last 25 years; retired since 1990.
Long-time involvement with virtual reality:
In 1998, I self-published the book "The Virtual Universe - Philosophy, Physics and the Nature of Things" in which, after an overview of philosophy and physics, I presented my conjecture that 1) We live in a non-material virtual universe somewhat akin to the virtual reality of computer science, and 2) This virtual universe, which includes our bodies, but not our minds, is the creation of a Cosmic Mind, of which our individual minds are integral parts. I called this worldview "virtualism" and presented arguments from physics to support it. (I copyrighted a prior unpublished version of this book in 1993.)
In 2008, I self-published "Virtualism, Mind and Reality - An Approach to Untangle the Consciousness Problem."
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