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Published on Jan 12, 2011
Google Tech Talk January 6, 2011
Presented by Ron Garret.
Richard Feynman once famously quipped that no one understands quantum mechanics, and popular accounts continue to promulgate the view that QM is an intractable mystery (probably because that helps to sell books). QM is certainly unintuitive, but the idea that no one understands it is far from the truth. In fact, QM is no more difficult to understand than relativity. The problem is that the vast majority of popular accounts of QM are simply flat-out wrong. They are based on the so-called Copenhagen interpretation of QM, which has been thoroughly discredited for decades. It turns out that if Copenhagen were true then it would be possible to communicate faster than light, and hence send signals backwards in time. This talk describes an alternative interpretation based on quantum information theory (QIT) which is consistent with current scientific knowledge. It turns out that there is a simple intuition that makes almost all quantum mysteries simply evaporate, and replaces them with an easily understood (albeit strange) insight: measurement and entanglement are the same physical phenomenon, and you don't really exist.
Dr. Ron Garret was an AI and robotics researcher at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab for fifteen years before taking a year off to work at Google in June of 2000. He was the lead engineer on the first release of AdWords, and the original author of the Google Translation Console. Since leaving Google he has started a new career as an entrepreneur, angel investor and filmmaker. He has co-founded three startups, invested in a dozen others, and made a feature-length documentary about homelessness.