What Is Quantum Suicide?

Quantum suicide is just an abstract thought experiment – and it won’t work in the real world – and is used primarily as a concept to help distinguish between different theories of quantum mechanics. Presumably, he can falsify any interpretation of quantum mechanics, except Everett’s many-worlds interpretation, through a variation of Schrödinger’s cat thought experiment from the point of view of cats. Theorized and published by Hans Moravec in 1987 and Bruno Marshall in 1988, the quantum suicide thought experiment offers the same configuration as the famous Schrödinger cat experiment, with one small change: you are the observer as well as the subject of the test. . The quantum suicide thought experiment uses a device similar to Schrödinger’s cat: a box that kills a person in a given period of time with half the probability due to quantum uncertainty.

To play quantum Russian roulette, you essentially need a quantum gun that acts as a trigger, a machine gun that fires or jumps depending on the trigger, and a test subject who must also be an observer. The difference between a typical or classic Russian roulette and a quantum one is that the quantum gun works on qubits, quantum bits that can be in a superposition of states. For example, the quantum cannon launches a machine gun in a jump for bit 0 and fires a bullet for bit 1. If the quantum particle is measured while it rotates clockwise, the cannon fires.


This is no ordinary weapon; it is installed on a machine that measures the rotation of a quantum particle. In the experiment above, the machine gun is powered by a quantum phenomenon, and hitting the experimenter’s head with a bullet is equivalent to an observation made by a continuous being. And the observer is unaware of the activation and the activation mechanism – observing the result will make it a classical event – making the whole setup a quantum event. All interpretations of quantum mechanics predict that he will hear a seemingly random sequence of pops and pops, such as “bang-click-bang-bang-bang-click-click-click-bang-click-click”.

What we have done here is to relate the experimenter’s survival to the quantum state, which means that he now exists in a superposition of life and death. If we repeat the quantum suicide experiment, assuming the many worlds theory is correct, then in every case of evidence, in one or more worlds, our consciousness survives no matter what. This is because your consciousness only continues in the parallel universe in which you survive, thus demonstrating that we have “quantum immortality”. Therefore, if you were to commit quantum suicide, your consciousness would disappear with increasing probability, the more times the experiment is done, you will not experience immortality.

The final drawback of this idea, which was also pointed out by Tegmark, is that any world in which you experienced quantum suicide is much smaller than the world in which you lived before. Since you are in a state of superposition as an observer and a subject, you have to live for a quantum necessity, otherwise you will fall out of the superposition, which contradicts the original experiment. In the quantum suicide experiment, when you sit inside a box and wait for possible death, being both an observer and a test subject, your chances of survival are 50% of the probability that a given quantum event will occur.


If the loss of consciousness were binary, as in the thought experiment, the effect of quantum suicide would prevent the observer from subjectively falling asleep or undergoing anesthesia, conditions in which mental activity is greatly reduced but not completely stopped. If your consciousness only flowed into the universes in which it persisted, you would expect to experience quantum insomnia, which obviously doesn’t happen. Even if the required type of multiverse is real, and even if survival in some universe is physically possible, you won’t experience anything like quantum immortality.

In fact, there is a way to prove the existence of a quantum multiverse, but if there is one, it only exacerbates this crazy problem. Quantum mechanics says that objective reality does not exist, instead, all we see is the probability of collapsing into a certain configuration…all other possible realities can simply exist together in the quantum multiverse.

Instead (like any other laws of physics) quantum laws seem to be everywhere. The same idea of ​​”things can be in many states” applies throughout quantum theory. In quantum physics, however, our predictions fail when we assume that things are in only one state. If there is a non-zero probability, all quantum theory does is change “probable” to “sure”.


This is true whenever quantum theory is applied, such as in chemistry. Calculating the most likely quantum state can give fairly accurate predictions, but the more states you consider, the more accurate your predictions will be. The Copenhagen interpretation is based on the existence of an observer—not necessarily an intelligent observer, but just something that can trigger the collapse of the wavefunction—and when an observer is no longer needed, many of the apparent paradoxes of quantum mechanics are eliminated. Indeed, consciousness may be too strong to speculate on the nature of the observer, as the Copenhagen interpretation prescribes according to the current understanding of quantum mechanics.

Turning to the behavior of subatomic particles, it is extremely difficult to reconcile with our everyday life experience. Matter at this level is infinitesimal, and it is almost impossible for scientists to explore it practically using traditional methods of scientific research. The quantum level is the smallest level of matter that we have discovered so far in the universe.

The implication is that a person will have “quantum immortality”; in any case where he or she may die, there must be a universe in which he or she will continue to live. Since the overlap in the existence of the experimentalist versions occurs by quantum necessity (according to the many-worlds interpretation), their survival after any achievable number of iterations is physically necessary; hence, the concept of quantum immortality.


It also sounds like a nod to Hans Moravec, who called the quantum suicide experiment a form of Russian roulette — a game of life and death with a revolver in the room A bullet was fired from the inside and hit the head, deciding the fate of a person. case. Physicist and author Philip Ball, a critic of the many-worlds interpretation, described quantum suicide experiments as “cognitively unstable” in his book “Beyond the Weird” and illustrated many-worlds with probability theoretical difficulties. Attempts to differentiate Copenhagen’s interpretation of quantum mechanics from Everett’s many-worlds interpretation and variants of Schrödinger’s cat thought experiment from a cat’s point of view.

This post was proofread with Grammarly.

Leave a Reply