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Comment Beware of Walled Gardens (Score 1) 141

I bought a Rift and although it is a great VR headset, my biggest disappointment is that for the money I paid, I expected to be able to see all the newest VR content out there. This cannot be any further from the truth. I can't even experience Google Earth (without hacking) on the Rift and there are countless Gear VR experiences I would love to try, but I cannot do so. So PC headsets are a good buy if you are a gamer with specific games in mind, but for experiencing general and free VR content, the Gear VR seems to be where it is at right now.

I hope open standards like WebVR improve the situation, but for now the fragment nature of the VR landscape is a major let down.

-- Marcio

Comment Coding requirements (Score 4, Insightful) 338

Isn't writing out requirements in a way a computer can understand the essence of any programming language that has ever existed? So how is this any different? To truly get rid of programmers, the machine would need to look at the world, figure out what the problems were, figure out the requirements to solve it on it's own, and solve it. Then, yes, would programmers be able to look at kitten pictures all day.

Comment Re:Remote quantum surveillance (Score 1) 238

Therefore, our alien race will know what shape the Earth was in when they left, because of the entangled particles, but they really could just have made notes instead. They won't know what happens when the state of any particle on Earth changes.

Thanks for clarifying. Seems like entanglement is much less useful feature of the universe than I had expected. Is it good for anything?

Comment Re:Remote quantum surveillance (Score 1) 238

I don't think any alien race is going to succeed in entangling all the particles in the Solar System, but even if they do they won't stay entangled for very long. Remember that a lot of the challenges to making viable quantum computers are preventing the entangled particles from interacting with anything else. If they do they're then no longer entangled.

Super-intelligent alien engineers love a challenge and presumably they've had a head start :)

Comment Re:Remote quantum surveillance (Score 0) 238

Just because you agreed that a certain state of that certain particle would mean a certain action was taken/not taken doesn't mean that the other person didn't change their mind, or wasn't prevented from carrying out the agreed-upon course of action.

Yes, I understand. But I used the limited twin example as a lead in to my more fantastic scenario of a highly advanced alien race that wanted to keep tabs on Earth. They would do so by entangling all the particles on Earth and then traveling back to their home star with the sister particles. In such a scenario, there would be no source of randomness available to us that they could not observe from afar. We would have free will because our actions could still be random and unpredictable, but those actions, which are somehow derived from quantum states, could be observed by the alien race using the sister particles back home.

It's sort of an extension on the question on whether the universe is amenable to simulation. If there are random quantum states that prevent simulation on deterministic hardware, the hypothetical alien race could get around this by entangling all the particles in our part of the universe and using those particles to feed the correct random parameters into their simulation of Earth.

Comment Re:Remote quantum surveillance (Score 1) 238

Measure them all, record the state, measure them all later... oops, now the measurements are no longer correlated with the state of the particles with Twin A.

Okay. It wasn't clear from the article that once you measure the particle the entanglement goes away. I had assumed that you could keep measuring the particle over and over again for different outcomes. I had read it as being like a pseudo-random number generator that was set to the same seed when the particles were entangled.

I think my general idea still works, though. I did not say that a twin had any ability to influence what the other saw when he measured his particle. All I assumed is that he could tell what random value his twin had measured by consulting his own particle. If you have an infinite number of particles and an agreed upon sequence of checking them, you could still implement first scenario. You could get the exact same result more easily with the pseudo-random number generator, however, rather than having an infinite bag of entangled particles.

Comment Remote quantum surveillance (Score 0) 238

According to the Forbes article, if you read the quantum state of a particle here, you can learn the corresponding state of the remote particle, no matter the distance. It would seem like this could allow you to gain knowledge about distant events, provided you knew the particle on the other end was being used to influence those events. For example, suppose you had a particle here on Earth and your twin had another entangled particle on Alpha Centauri. Suppose the two of you had worked out a system where each of you would consult the particle as an Oracle for major life decisions. If this was the case, you and your twin would know what life choices the other was making instantly, without having to communicate.

So the upshot of this is that a sufficiently advanced alien race could be keeping tabs on Earth from very far away by having seeded entangled particles throughout our planet eons ago. Since our actions are based on random events (the weather, the stock market, random number generators, synaptic activity in our brains, etc) such an alien race could know an incredible amount of information about how we operate by consulting their entangled particles.

So, think about it. We are being watched. Each random occurrence on Earth gives our alien overlords the ability to spy on us, while themselves being so far away that we could never see them. I bet you'll never look at a Magic-8 Ball or a coin flip the same way again.

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