Re: copy method important?

From: Norman Samish <>
Date: Sat, 18 Jun 2005 16:20:18 -0700

    Isn't it possible that decision processes of the brain, hence
consciousness, DOES depend critically on quantum states?
    My understanding of the workings of the brain is that my action, whether
thought or deed, is determined by whether or not certain neurons fire. This
depends on many other neurons. So the brain can be in a state of delicate
balance, where it could be impossible to predict whether or not the neuron
    We all have to make decisions where the pluses apparently equal the
minuses. It would take very little to tip the balance one way or the other.
Perhaps, at the deepest level, the route we take depends on whether an
electron has left or right polarization, or some other quantum property -
which we agree can't be measured.
    If this is true, then perhaps Free Will (or at least behavior that is,
in principle, unpredictable) does exist.
----- Original Message -----
From: ""Hal Finney"" <>
To: <>
Sent: Saturday, June 18, 2005 2:02 PM
Subject: Re: copy method important?

> I'm no physicist, but doesn't Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle forbid
> making exact quantum-level measurements, hence exact copies? If so, then
> all this talk of making exact copies is fantasy.
> Norman Samish

You can't *specifically* copy a quantum state, but you can create
systems in *every possible* quantum state (of a finite size), hence you
can make an ensemble which contains a copy of a given quantum system.
You can't say which specific item in the ensemble is the copy, but you
can make a copy. That may or may not be sufficient for a particular
thought experiment to go forward.

In practice most people believe that consciousness does not depend
critically on quantum states, so making a copy of a person's mind would
not be affected by these considerations.

Hal Finney
Received on Sat Jun 18 2005 - 19:24:57 PDT

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