Boltzmann's Brain and Wigner's Friend
SPEAKER | Charles H Bennett
INSTITUTE | IBM Watson Laboratory
DATE | October 7(Wed), 2015
TIME | 11:00
PLACE | 1503
ABSTRACT | Modern cosmology has given new urgency to some early 20th century puzzles: the Boltzmann's brain problem of whether we might be merely a statistical fluctuation in an old dead universe, rather than inhabitants of a young live one, and the Wigner's friend problem, of what it feels like to be inside an unobserved quantum superposition. Within the context of these still unresolved questions, we discuss how thermodynamic disequilibrium enables the emergence of classical phenomenology from quantum laws, the emergence of 'logically deep' classical structures containing internal evidence of a nontrivial causal history, and finally the obliteration of both depth and classicality by a system's return to thermal equilibrium.