Breaking news from academia. You can find the news everywhere — Physicists reverse time using quantum computer, also here and there. Journalists seem to be convinced that we humans are now able to construct a ‘time machine’ using ‘cutting-edge’ ‘quantum technology’. They are all quoting the ‘arrow of time’ and we can ‘flip’ it and go back to the 20th century and possibly stop the World War.
It is claimed that the second law of thermodynamics can be violated, irreversibility of entropy might not be true. Okay. As a half-scientist, I decided to read the paper directly. I don’t understand most of the details but I think I have a better understanding than most journalists do.
Are we able to reverse time? Kind of.
Are we one step closer to a time machine? Not really*.
Did they violate any physics that we think we know of? Nah.
Scientists are now able to ‘simulate’ the previous state correctly given the current state 85% of the time in a two-qubit quantum computer, and only 50% in a three-qubit setting. Let’s be clear, that is by no means a violation of the second law of thermodynamics or any physics. We all could play a video backward and we would have ‘reversed time’, without violating any physics of course. In general, you could theoretically simulate any reversible process backward in time.
This is not about time travel.
I am not suggesting that what the researchers did was useless, wrong, or whatever.
Reverse computation is difficult. For example, can we possibly simulate climate backward in time? Quite possibly, with a certain confidence interval. Does that mean we can go back to the past? Not really. Are we violating any physics? Definitely not, it is a simulation.
There is only one truth, but there are infinite interpretations of the truth.
Most of the headlines and buzzwords probably don’t do justice to the findings, and it is extremely dangerous to infer anything beyond our comprehension. Scientists barely understand quantum physics, and no one should expect anyone to understand it.
Academia is therefore responsible for producing more logical interpretations on their own findings, and should not delegate it to the general public or over-interpret for media covfefe. This is a demonstration of academic integrity.
It is not the media’s job to tell the truth. They are a business, just like any other business, and their job is to make money. — Jay Foreman
Thank you for reading! If you are interested in the application of data science, check out my latest articles:
*Are we one step closer to a time machine? Assuming it does exist in the future, we are technically getting closer to that time. Time moves forward.
Originally published at edenau.github.io.
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