Friday, April 08, 2005

One Hundred Years of Uncertainty

For more about quantum theory and uncertainty see Brian Greene (professor of physics & mathematics, Columbia University), One Hundred Years of Uncertainty, NYTimes Online (Op-Ed, April 8, 2005)

Professor Greene gives you quantum theory made simple -- but not inaccurate. (Quantum theory made simple is the only kind I can handle.)

  • But there's nothing in Greene's Op-Ed about quantum computing. (I wonder: Was Professor Greene consulted on the decision by the NYTimes editor's to classify his paper as opinion?)
  • Oh yes, about this business of quantum computing: if the human brain does quantum computing, do human beings really need the simplifying heuristics that Kahneman and others said or suggested that human beings need to get along in this world?

    The mind is a subtle thing. Well, some minds ... :-)

    N.B. Part of the lesson of jury studies such as those done by Reid Hastie et al. in Inside the Jury is that the "ordinary" mind -- i.e., the mind of the ordinary person -- is a very powerful and subtle instrument -- at least with regard to the storing and analysis of ordinary (non-technical) evidence. (And such ordinary minds seem to do better with [ordinary] evidence when they work in groups -- e.g., the ordinary mind seems to function better when it works with eleven other ordinary minds on an ordinary jury to dissect and assess the evidence, at least in a typical case, one that does not involve much technical ledgerdemain. [Granted, such "typical" cases are becoming less common.])

  • Another thing to keep in mind [so to speak] is that human beings, to make inferences about their environment and the world, do not need to have everything they know consciously in mind at all times. See P. Tillers, Picturing Inference (2005).
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