[extropy-chat] Prime Directive

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky sentience at pobox.com
Fri Oct 27 22:53:08 UTC 2006

George Dvorsky wrote:
> On 10/27/06, Anders Sandberg <asa at nada.kth.se> wrote:
>>I'll leave quantum theory out of this, since I think decoherence does the
>>job better than observers.
> This doesn't make sense to me and runs against my conception of
> quantum mechanics, the role of the observer, and how decoherence
> works. Please explain, as I don't think this should be hand-waved
> away.

I don't have time myself to explain, but I'll chime in briefly to say 
that, indeed, the purely physical phenomenon of decoherence is now the 
"most standard" explanation for what was, in previous decades, waved off 
with much confusion as observer-caused quantum collapse, etc.  *How* 
this is so, is a whole long separate story - but the most standard 
version of modern physics no longer grants any privileged role to 
conscious observers.

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky                          http://singinst.org/
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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