Information 2012, 3(1), 92-123; doi:10.3390/info3010092

If Physics Is an Information Science, What Is an Observer?

Received: 9 January 2012; in revised form: 23 January 2012 / Accepted: 10 February 2012 / Published: 16 February 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Information and Energy/Matter)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: Interpretations of quantum theory have traditionally assumed a “Galilean” observer, a bare “point of view” implemented physically by a quantum system. This paper investigates the consequences of replacing such an informationally-impoverished observer with an observer that satisfies the requirements of classical automata theory, i.e., an observer that encodes sufficient prior information to identify the system being observed and recognize its acceptable states. It shows that with reasonable assumptions about the physical dynamics of information channels, the observations recorded by such an observer will display the typical characteristics predicted by quantum theory, without requiring any specific assumptions about the observer’s physical implementation.
Keywords: measurement; system identification; pragmatic information; decoherence; virtual machine; quantum Darwinism; quantum Bayesianism; emergence
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MDPI and ACS Style

Fields, C. If Physics Is an Information Science, What Is an Observer? Information 2012, 3, 92-123.

AMA Style

Fields C. If Physics Is an Information Science, What Is an Observer? Information. 2012; 3(1):92-123.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Fields, Chris. 2012. "If Physics Is an Information Science, What Is an Observer?" Information 3, no. 1: 92-123.

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