Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Quantum Mind Theory and Quantum Computers

Ever wonder why the human brain doesn't work the same way your computer does? When you feed information (data) into a computer it might store it as a file, calculate using the new data or perform any number of unique functions using this new information. A computer like Belle, Deep Blue or Hydra that can "play" chess might seem very intelligent, but they're really not. A computer can do just what its name implies, "compute." What this means is that a computer can only work with the data that is fed into it, and only within the specific parameters that are programmed into its code. You will not get "original" ideas to come out of a computer, unless your computer is fed in those ideas or the patterns to generate them. This is one of the most frustrating issues being battled in artificial intelligence (A.I.) research today. So lately, scientists have been peering into the mechanics of human intelligence. There is even a branch of study in the field of quantum mechanics that deals with this question, its called Quantum Mind Theory. Researchers like psychologist Roger Penrose have been asking this same question for years, in an attempt to find out how the human brain works. The theory (although still in its infancy) does help to explain the incongruity between classical models of cognition and actual human behavior. A computer works much more in line with Newtonian or classical laws of Physics, while the human brain appears to be following a separate set of laws. A human brain can generate data that was not fed in, and does not have to follow programmed parameters, in fact, very little appears to be programmed into human cognition. A human brain can be fed stimuli and respond with any number of logical or illogical responses. Psychology has always wondered about the inherent random nature of human cognition and behavior. Assigning complex, and lengthy explanations for each new phenomena has been a strategy of psychologists for the past few centuries, but has not taken us any closer to a workable understanding of how the human brain works. If the human mind truly worked like a computer, then classical conditioning would be 100% effective and creativity (imagination, art, literature) would not exist.

So what are these other laws? Quantum Physics offers us a unique view of the human brain and its function, it may indicate that the human mind actually works by using quantum functions to process stimuli and produce behavior. Quantum functions would give us the ability to work with data and produce unique and possibly random results. In order for human beings to behave in a civilized or even functional manner, the use of linear logic would also be needed. Linear logic is the kind most closely associated with classical or Newtonian physics, the natural laws which appear to govern our world. Non-linear logic appears to be more random and chaotic and is associated with quantum physics and chaos theory. Both Linear and non-linear logic would then play a part in how the human mind functions on a day to day basis. Without linear logic we would be a very short-lived species, without non-linear logic, we would be a very boring one.

If we can build a quantum computer, that works like our own brain does, we will begin a new era of technology and dreams of artificial intelligence will become a living breathing reality. Quantum computing has actually already begun (on an atomic scale.) Researchers have devised a system for computing based on the manipulation of atoms, seven to be exact. Tests using this tiny computer have yielded some interesting results, the quantum computer indicated that [2 + 2 = 4.] This might sound like a waste of time, buts its really the first step in manipulating larger more complex groups of atoms, which will eventually surpass traditional computers. Once this occurs the development of a large scale quantum computer will be just a few steps away.

Scientists are eager to develop a quantum computer (QC) for many reasons. QC's will use what is called qubits to process information much like modern computers use bits and bytes. Qubits have essentially two different states (up or down.) It depends on the observer present as to which state the qubit will be found in. QC's will be able to outperform traditional computers (exponentially.) This means that today's most advanced supercomputers or even "clusters" will look like the ENIAC of the 1960's when compared to QC! You may recall that early computers were large and heavy, requiring lots of electricity and operators to use them. NASA estimates that the computing power (at the time of the moon landing) was roughly the equivalent of a scientific calculator such as a TI-83. According to nanotechnology experts, computers utilizing nanocircuitry and quantum technology will be extremely small, (on the molecular scale) and will be infinitely more complex than the computers of today. A leading researcher from Oklahoma State University once remarked, "A nano-scale computer the size of a human fist could one day run the entire electrical grid for New York City."

Current advances in existing computer processors have now produced devices like the "SEAforth 40C18" processor made by Intellasys International Corp. This chip has 40 cores, each runs like a separate but equal CPU with its own ROM and RAM, operates up to 240 times faster and uses 28 times less electricity than its competitors. This example helps to illustrate how quickly technology is approaching the point by which Moore's Law will no longer be a valid predictor of technological progress. (Moore's Law says that technology 'primarily computing technology' will continue to double in processing capability, speed and complexity, roughly every two years.) It has been estimated that 2010 will be the hallmark year where Moore's Law becomes temporarily inaccurate. We do not yet know the rate of technological advancement a society could expect to see, when fully implementing nanotechnology. [One night draw a correlation to the advancements of the modern era upon preindustrial people of island origin.]

For more information about Quantum Mind Theory read the following books:

The Emperor's New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds, and the Laws of Physics (1991)
Author: Roger Penrose

Society Of Mind
Author: Marvin Minsky

Digital People: From Bionic Humans To Androids
Author: Sidney Perkowitz

No comments: