Experiment proves Reality does not exist until it is Measured [Nor Do Topics]

Experiment proves Reality does not exist until it is Measured

From the post:

The bizarre nature of reality as laid out by quantum theory has survived another test, with scientists performing a famous experiment and proving that reality does not exist until it is measured.

Physicists at The Australian National University (ANU) have conducted John Wheeler’s delayed-choice thought experiment, which involves a moving object that is given the choice to act like a particle or a wave. Wheeler’s experiment then asks — at which point does the object decide?

Common sense says the object is either wave-like or particle-like, independent of how we measure it. But quantum physics predicts that whether you observe wave like behavior (interference) or particle behavior (no interference) depends only on how it is actually measured at the end of its journey. This is exactly what the research team found.

“It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” said Associate Professor Andrew Truscott from the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering.

The results are more of an indictment of “common sense” than startling proof that “reality does not exist if you are not looking at it.”

In what sense would “reality” exist if you weren’t looking at it?

It is well known that what we perceive as motion, distance, sensation are all constructs that are being assembled by our brains based upon input from our senses. Change those senses or fool them and the “displayed” results are quite different.

If you doubt either of those statements, try your hand at the National Geographic BrainGames site.

Topics as you recall, represent all the information we know about a particular subject.

So, in what sense does a topic not exist until we look at it?

Assuming that you have created your topic map in a digital computer, where would you point to show me your topic map? The whole collection of topics. Or a single topic for that matter?

In order to point to a topic, you have to query the topic map. That is you have to ask to “see” the topic in question.

When displayed, that topic may have information that you don’t remember entering. In fact, you may be able to prove you never entered some of the information displayed. Yet, the information is now being displayed before you.

Part of the problem arises because for convenience sake, we often think of computers as storing information as we would write it down on a piece of paper. But the act of displaying information by a computer is a transformation of its storage of information into a format that is easier for us to perceive.

A transformation process underlies the display of a topic, well, depending upon the merging rules for your topic map. It is always possible to ask a topic map to return a set of topics that match a merging criteria but that again is your “looking at” a requested set of topics and not in any way “the way the topics are in reality.”

One of the long standing problems in semantic interoperability is the insistence of every solution that it has the answer if everyone else would just listen and abandon their own solutions.

Yes, yes that would work but thus far, after over 6,000 years of recorded, different systems for semantics (languages, both natural and artificial) that has never happened. I take that as some evidence that a universal solution isn’t going to happen.

What I am proposing is that topics, in a topic map, have the shape and content designed by an author and/or as requested by a user. That is the result of a topic map is always a question of “what did you ask” and not some preordained answer.

As I said, that isn’t likely to come up early in your use of topic maps but it could be invaluable for maintenance and processing of a topic map.

I am working on several examples to illustrate this idea and hope to have one or more of them posted tomorrow.

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