Archive for April 4th, 2012

Is the moon there when nobody looks?

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 by Antonio Manzalini

I wish following up Roberto’s sentence in his post (Europe 2050: data based economics): “meaning is not an information nor a collection of information, rather a state of the brain, that in turns is influenced by previous state(s).

This has recalled me a video where Henry Stapp (retired from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, but member of the scientific staff) is elaborating how the collapse of the wave function in quantum mechanics can explain mind-brain interactions (by the way this talk was part of a Nour Foundation panel discussion at the September 11, 2008 United Nations symposium, “Beyond the Mind-Body Problem: New Paradigms in the Science of Consciousness”).

H. Stapp: reality waves collapse when brains select one among the alternative possibilities for future actions

It is impressive noticing these similarities between the collapse of a state vector of a quantum system and a decision process in the field of mind: a peak in an electron wave function is closely correlated with the probability of observing an electron in the region of the peak; similarly the brain-mind activity involves the selection of one alternative state out of many.

So, indeed, any brain state appears as the consequence of its interactions of the environment (with all its data), being also influenced by the previous state(s). So I’d define information, in its generality, as what brings achieving a certain brain state.

This brings also to realize how measurements in the quantum domain appears to be similar to information processing in the brain, or in general, in the biological domain. In particular, we see that in the quantum domain the measurement theory shows that a measuring instrument acts as a filter whose setting are related to the state of the measuring instrument after the measurement; in the field of mind we can associate this with the registering, by an information processing system, of the decision process (and the states) which has been carried out (achieved).

But then, how registering brain states, so to feed a global mind ?

Will Connectomics pave the way ? Maybe, but much remains to be done: many studies actually marked the evidence of biological organisms exploiting quantum behaviors.

My two cents is that we need to reach a subtler level, which is the common substrate for quantum and biological information systems, and, based on that, to develop new concepts of brain-cloud interfaces.