Director's Colloquium

CAN A QUBIT BE YOUR FRIEND? Why a philosopher would want to have a quantum computer

Professor Howard Wiseman
Director, Centre for Quantum Dynamics, Griffith University

Experimental metaphysics was born from Bell’s theorem, and the experiments it inspired, that prove the world cannot be both local and deterministic. There is an implicit assumption here, that an experimenter sees a definite outcome when (s)he measures a system, which is brought into question when the experimenter becomes a system (the “Wigner’s Friend” scenario). We have derived a new theorem for this scenario, which is similar to Bell’s theorem but which does without determinism. I will present experimental results where the “friend system” is a single qubit. However, I claim, for a truly convincing experiment, that system would have to be a quantum computer large enough, and running sufficiently advanced AI software, that it could be regarded genuinely as a friend.

Professor Howard Wiseman is an Australian theoretical quantum physicist. He has been at Griffith University since 1999, and has been the Director of the Centre for Quantum Dynamics there since 2007. Wiseman is best known for his work in quantum information, quantum foundations, and quantum measurement and control. He is less well known for his work in Arthurian history and literature. Wiseman has authored or co-authored two books and over 230 refereed papers. He has won several national awards or medals, and has been elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, the American Physical Society, and The Optical Society (OSA).

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