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Boas Bamberger

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A Quantum Computing Approach to Test for Free Will in Humans.

Assuming the Big Bang to be the starting point of quantum entanglement, we now have the situation of a seemingly infinite number of entanglements that make our universe what it is. From this point of view every decision we make forms new entanglements and is due to prior entanglements. If that is so, there is no free will, but merely the consequence of prior entanglements.

To test this assumption quantum computers could do the trick. An algorithm (AI) that draws on a subjects personality, life-history and some environmental factors to predict future binary decision could give an insight on how prior entanglements are predictive to new entanglements. To train the algorithm several subjects are needed to verify on binary decisions the computer clone of each subject made.

Thanks to quantum computing such an algorithm could be able to finish computing within our lifetime. There are several more advantages that come along with quantum computers for this kind of machine learning.

Now: If the accuracy for binary decision making predictions of this algorithm is significantly greater than 0.5 (pure chance for any binary decision), it can be said, that there is no free will.

I think to resolve the question of free will in humans is essential in understanding the purpose we are serving. This approach is relatively cost effective, as a small number of subjects would suffice to test the hypothesis. The costs would reside with the time to develop a proper algorithm as well as the hardware. Nevertheless there are ethical constraints to this approach, as the subjects would have to share a lot of very personal data. Furthermore if the hypothesis was tested to be true I assume there would be tremendous effects on society.

I would love to hear your opinion on this topic. Maybe someone can point out similar experiments or approaches I missed so far in my research.


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    Apr 24 2013: Once you "prove" there is no free will we can stop holding people accountable for their actions, repeal all laws and close all prisons. Eat, drink and be merry, after all, why would we be accountable for doing something The Entanglements forced us to do? When we ask if our universe is merely a petrie dish we prove it is not. The big advantage of quantum methods is to be free from the classical requirement for absolute, repeatable, measurable precision.
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      Apr 25 2013: Hi Edward, you are right: If there is no free will, some people will take it as reason to reject being accountable for their actions. But those people would take anything as reason to argue that way, I believe. "Eat, drink and be merry, after all, why would we be accountable for doing something [external circumstances socioeconomic status, education, society in general] forced us to do?", this is how some persons argue already (!).

      The petrie dish reminded me of the problem of a fish to discover water. However, we discovered that there is air around us. Is it really impossible to discover the structure of our universe then? A nice non-scientific illustration can be found in the movie 'The Truman Show'.

      There has never been an absolute, repeatable, measurable precision in measurements to begin with. The time axis has to be taken into consideration. The exact same experiment in some specific place in universe would have had different results some billion years ago, I assume. Thus I think we can use quantum mechanics for "precise" measurements as well.
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        Apr 25 2013: You will have to take-up the idea of precise quantum measurements with Mr. Heisenberg. But, hey, isn't free will a matter for philosophers and theologians to squabble about? Natural science might confirm supernatural truth but it will never discover it. Thank you for a thought-provoking post sir!
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          Apr 25 2013: Thanks for the hint on Mr. Heisenberg! I will take a look at his precise quantum measurements.

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