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

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

21 Rue des Lavandières, Caunes Minervois, 11160 France
Received: 9 January 2012 / Revised: 23 January 2012 / Accepted: 10 February 2012 / Published: 16 February 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Information and Energy/Matter)
Download PDF [320 KB, 17 February 2012; original version 16 February 2012]

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 measurement; system identification; pragmatic information; decoherence; virtual machine; quantum Darwinism; quantum Bayesianism; emergence
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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

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