Computing, Quanta, Entropy
1 min read

Computing, Quanta, Entropy

Computing, Quanta, Entropy

Quantum mechanics tells us that entropy decreases as information increases, and that this transferrence creates asymmetry between the giver and receiver of information. For instance, the more I teach you, the more you know, and the more you know, the more uncertain my world becomes as a result of the change in symmetry.

As another example, this piece of writing is a transferrence of information that increases my entropy while increaseing your knowledge (hopefully). You’re welcome.

While the realm of quantum mechanics is not in the purview of this piece, it provides an interesting insight into the nature of things — namely that computing (and by extension, technology) is fundamentally predicated on the principles of exchanges of energy and uncertainty that similarly underpin quantum mechanics.  The entire field, in fact, relies on a symmetry between energy and information. It’s a balance we try to strike through processes,  principles, and technological advances.

The advent of computer technology can also thank quantum mechanics, from Von Neumann to Turing. The mathematics of quantum mechanics is what enables everything from the first computer to modern quantum computing. And, as quantum mechanics relies on concepts of probability and change, the adoption of computing also relies on our fear of change and uncertainty — more computer information reduces uncertainty.

Yet computers often introduce more uncertainty than they address. Some might even call this uncertainty — this vague space that emerges between what we do and what occurs  — deception. A deception because we can’t totally map what happens between our inputs into a computer and what it does in response, and a deception because we perplexingly continue to believe that computers provide truth in the form of information, analyses, and models.

They do not.

Computers, in other words, are fundamentally a means of deception as we currently conceive the term. The belief that they will provide us with truth is unfounded. In fact — a priori — computers are not meant to provide truth in the first place. Instead, they reveal information that resembles the truth just like any other object of art, science, and design.