Thoughts on economics and liberty

Further proof that the biological processes must use quantum mechanical effects

Further to my speculative ramblings here, further proof that no ordinary computer could POSSIBLY do what the brain does. The previous arguments remain – and should be added to this list.

1. With all its grunt power, IBM's computer could barely defeat humans on Jeopardy. But the humans who got defeated walked into the studio, laughed (had emotions), enjoyed being defeated, in a wry way (computers don't 'enjoy'). And they went home and did whatever it is they do (watch TV, etc.). The brain is an EXISTENTIAL computer. It has evolved to ruthlessly eliminate unnecessary qualities and focus on EXISTENCE and survival as a first priority. Therefore it can be compared with a simple computer that merely calculates. It has to bootstrap and adapt, survive. It is not JUST going to do jeopardy, it is going to a TRILLION other things. It is a general purpose computer. Computers don't watch TV. The brain does. Computers don't have empathy for other computers. Computers don't enjoy being with pets. So this is the GENERAL PURPOSE argument for quantum effects (since ordinary density of calculations can't cope with the variety).

2. When we recall a sunset (aka Deepak Chopra) we not only recall one sunset in HIGH RESOLUTION but can effortlessly recall tens of sunsets, including from photographs and paintings. I can effortlessly flit through my mind over 100s of paintings I've enjoyed, and each of these is in quite high resolution. There is not even a micro-second pause between my 'slide-show' of sunsets. And all the while I am typing, sitting, watching the computer screen with my eyes, managing my heart beat and bodily functions, etc. etc. The very speed of retrieval and virtually infinite storage capacity (some people's memories never erase), is proof of a level of computing deeper than any 'connectedness' can create.

3. Brain waves are a part of our thought process. Vibrations among INFINITE 'on-off' switches at the quantum level are perhaps involved in creating these brain waves and in helping us 'decide' what to store in hard data (biological connections) and what to ignore. This they've only discovered recently. The very existence of MEANINGFUL brain waves (which almost certainly represent a form of consciousness) demonstrates this is not entirely electrical/chemical. It involves quantum level effects, with some of the infinite combinations of thought being generated through this process.

4. I suspect quantum effects are at work even within DNA. I don't see how an entire human body and brain can be coded at merely a protein level. There has to be something more happening, for the information requirements for our body and brain are simply too much for a mere protein to hold.

And, of course, all previous arguments should be added to this.

If this is true, it implies that quantum computing CAN be conducted at room temperature. Just like superconductivity has been now see to work in some cases at room temperature, there is no doubt in my mind that quantum computing will ultimately be found to work at room temperature.

What I'm saying, though, is that the complexity of the human brain is FAR greater than what Kurzweil imagines. It will take thousands of years to replicate any self-aware computer.

I do not agree with James D Miller that there is ANY risk that the first 'intelligent' computer we create can put our very existence to risk.

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Sanjeev Sabhlok

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One thought on “Further proof that the biological processes must use quantum mechanical effects
  1. Atul

    You are very confused about nature of computation.
    Any quantum computer does not violate church-turing hypothesis. As far as class of computation they can solve is exactly same as that of Universal Turing machine. They can do it faster but none the less they can not extend what can be computed. Even if your speculations about brains quantum nature is accepted, it still does not solve any of the hard problems about consciousness. If you are thinking that just by equating brain’s functionality with that of an advanced evolved quantum computer you can get away and solve the problem of consciousness you are mistaken. You should try to understand theoretical and mathematical aspect of computation. All major proposed models of algorithmic computation are Turing complete, including the quantum model. Hence you can do things faster with QC but given sufficient time and resources a Turing machine can simulate it successfully. So if you believe consciousness is something which arises from brain’s quantum nature, then it has been proved 50 years ago that your PC will be able to simulate it. Hence quantum computation can not be the a unique causal origin of consciousness (and all other illusions such as will to live, creativity etc etc).

    There are only two proposed models over and above Turing complete models which are hyper-computation and super-turing-computation, they are still a speculations and no physical system has ever been found conforming to these two. They are of pure theoretical nature. So if you now claim that may be Consciousness requires something of this sort, then even quantum nature of brain will not be able to explain it, because QC is strictly Turing complete.

    I would also like to point the front running speculative theory about quantum nature of brain is OrcOR and 6 of their 20 falsifiable predictions have been proved false. There is no problem in free investigation of all possible scientific theories albeit it is always a case of cost vs benefit. The front research in evolutionary psychology and cognition today is not focused in the direction of this quantum brain hypothesis for a reason, the reason is out of so many available options right now this one is least promising and a relatively costly affair. As an economist you should be able to understand this more than me.

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