Seeker examines how research into quantum computing may uncover more about the universe.

Scientists have built an advanced instrument with parts from a quantum computer that’s sensitive enough to listen for the signal of a dark matter particle. The Axion Dark Matter Experiment (ADMX) at the University of Washington is the world’s first dark matter experiment that’s hunting specifically for axions.

Lex Fridman interviews Lee Smolin, a theoretical physicist, co-inventor of loop quantum gravity, and a contributor of many interesting ideas to cosmology, quantum field theory, the foundations of quantum mechanics, theoretical biology, and the philosophy of science.

He is the author of several books including one that critiques the state of physics and string theory called The Trouble with Physics, and his latest book, Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution: The Search for What Lies Beyond the Quantum.

This conversation is part of the Artificial Intelligence podcast. 

Time Stamps:

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 3:03 – What is real?
  • 5:03 – Scientific method and scientific progress
  • 24:57 – Eric Weinstein and radical ideas in science
  • 29:32 – Quantum mechanics and general relativity
  • 47:24 – Sean Carroll and many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics
  • 55:33 – Principles in science
  • 57:24 – String theory

Lex Fridman interviews John Hopfield, a professor at Princeton, whose life’s work weaved beautifully through biology, chemistry, neuroscience, and physics.

Most crucially, he saw the messy world of biology through the piercing eyes of a physicist. He is perhaps best known for his work on associate neural networks, now known as Hopfield networks that were one of the early ideas that catalyzed

Timeline:

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 2:35 – Difference between biological and artificial neural networks
  • 8:49 – Adaptation
  • 13:45 – Physics view of the mind
  • 23:03 – Hopfield networks and associative memory
  • 35:22 – Boltzmann machines
  • 37:29 – Learning
  • 39:53 – Consciousness
  • 48:45 – Attractor networks and dynamical systems
  • 53:14 – How do we build intelligent systems?
  • 57:11 – Deep thinking as the way to arrive at breakthroughs
  • 59:12 – Brain-computer interfaces
  • 1:06:10 – Mortality
  • 1:08:12 – Meaning of life

Why is it that we can see these multiple histories play out on the quantum scale, and why do lose sight of them on our macroscopic scale?

Many physicists believe that the answer lies in a process known as quantum decoherence.

Does conscious observation of a quantum system cause the wavefunction to collapse? The upshot is that more and more physicists think that consciousness – and even measurement – doesn’t directly cause wavefunction collapse.

In fact probably there IS no clear Heisenberg cut. The collapse itself may be an illusion, and the alternate histories that the wavefunction represents may continue forever. The question then becomes: why is it that we can see these multiple histories play out on the quantum scale, and why do lose sight of them on our macroscopic scale? Many physicists believe that the answer lies in a process known as quantum decoherence. 

Quantum computing, a subject as confusing as it is intriguing.

In this fascinating and entertaining talk, Scott Aaronson elucidates the potential and the limits of quantum computing.

In a sober fashion, he gives an overview of the state of research, telling us not only what we could expect from quantum computers in the future, but also what we probably shouldn’t.

Scott Aaronson is the David J. Bruton Centennial Professor of Computer Science at The University of Texas at Austin, USA, and director of its Quantum Information Center. He is well-known for his “complexity zoo,” which helps to classify problems that can be solved by computers, both quantum and classical, according to how hard it is to solve them.

Scott is an accomplished academic researcher who published dozens of influential papers and won various notable awards, like the Alan T. Waterman Award in 2012. Before his current position at UT Austin, he taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for nine years. In 2004, he received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley and held positions at the University of Waterloo and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

A quantum computer isn’t just a more powerful version of the computers we use today; it’s something else entirely, based on emerging scientific understanding — and more than a bit of uncertainty.

Enter the quantum wonderland with TED Fellow Shohini Ghose and learn how this technology holds the potential to transform medicine, create unbreakable encryption and even teleport information.

Can’t get enough? Here’s another video.

It’s not surprising that the profound weirdness of the quantum world has inspired some outlandish explanations – nor that these have strayed into the realm of what we might call mysticism.

One particularly pervasive notion is the idea that consciousness can directly influence quantum systems – and so influence reality.

PBS Space Time examines where this idea comes from, and whether quantum theory really supports it.