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  • Byrke Lou

Of goddesses on QM structures - A collection of thoughts

The idea of modelling something human-like, which possesses human-like powers or even super-human powers is probably almost as old as humanity itself. A point can be made that even the first human figurines dating back to 40.000 b.c. were representations of the human desire to create something human-like. Some- thing, that could take over human roles and extend human powers. In the case of early figurines for instance, likely the power of fertility and abundance. It is easy to imagine that in tales, dances, mythology, sculptures and drawings, humans have since their beginning created stories of creatures more powerful than themselves, often themselves alike, which controlled natural phenomena, protected them from danger or acted out conflicts on their behalf. Later on, mythology was widely replaced by and merged with the formalised beliefs and practices of newly founded religions. Nowadays, in “Western” society, the belief in religion or mythology has for many people shrunken to almost sub-conscious lines of thoughts and feelings. Seemingly, for many people, the religious concept of worship providing safety has been transferred to consumption and capitalism.

Right now, with the new wave of developments in deep learning, we are bringing to life again, the story of a powerful force - a force that could be threatening or benevolent. We are undecided yet, how much the impact will depend on our intent, and how much it will be out of our control. In many public narrations, the different disciplines and research areas that together form the research field of “artificial intelligence” (AI) have been portrayed as being in one unanimous process of producing a powerful super-human. Does this narration reflect our desire for explainability of the unknown, of understanding powerful algorithms in black box- es? Or do these tales reflect our desire for protection and guidance, which used to be fulfilled by the stories of mythology and religion, but now, as capitalism crumbles, are we imagining a new power that could take over?

The current developments in the research fields contributing to “AI” did not originate out of nothing. They were made possible by the excessive amounts of information available on current-day internet. An increasingly connected society operating digitally with increasing speed levels also contributed to the amount of knowledge available online. In large, the data to develop increasingly human-like technology was collected by social media and online platforms. The evaluation of these huge amounts of statistics was in turn made possi- ble by current, rapid advances in the design of computer processors. At this exact moment in time, we experience how the AI-infused tools and processes developed over the past years settle into our daily lives and daily routines. At the same time, the increasingly fast development of digitisation and technology as a whole proceeds. One field of research expected to produce decisive new research and technological innovation over the coming years is quantum computing.

The conversation around “AI” makes us reflect upon, what it means to be human and what differentiates us from what we call “unalive” material. The increased implementation of Quantum Mechanics (QM) will make us reconsider how we as humans exist in space. The development of VR technologies from 2015 to 2020, already enabled us to extend our experience of reality into a world not following the rules of physics as we experience them, but the rules of computation. QM will allow us to extend this world further, by providing experiences based on new rules of computation. The development of quantum computing will bring new hardware structures and new programming languages. As it was with VR, it will be with QM, our role is to not stay stuck in digital historicism by producing what we know from traditional computing, but to use the full possibilities of this new reality of hardware, processes, logic and the form of their paths of least resistance. We will also be able to decide, in which ways we let the experience of these QM virtual worlds reflect onto our future physical world. Meaning, which experiences, forms, emotions and modes of interactions, develop- ing in the weird QM virtual, do we want to bring back into the future, physical world and in which way?


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