DOI: 10.14704/nq.2003.1.3.23

Quantum Mind 2003, Consciousness, Quantum Physics and the Brain. March 15-19, 2003, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

Editorial NQ

Abstract


Could quantum information be the key to understanding consciousness? Will the study of consciousness enable quantum information technology? The nature of consciousness and its place in the universe remain mysterious. Classical models view consciousness as computation among the brain's neurons but fail to address its enigmatic features. At the same time quantum processes (superposition of states, nonlocality, entanglement...) also remain mysterious, yet are being harnessed in revolutionary information technologies (quantum computation, quantum cryptography and quantum teleportation). A relation between consciousness and quantum effects has been pondered for nearly a century, and in the past decades quantum processes in the brain have been invoked as explanations for consciousness and its enigmatic features. Critics deride this comparison as a mere "minimization of mysteries" and quickly point out that the brain is too warm for quantum computation which in the technological realm requires extreme cold to avoid "decoherence", loss of seemingly delicate quantum states by interaction with the environment. However quantum computation would surely be advantageous from an evolutionary perspective, and biology has had 4 billion years to solve the decoherence problem and evolve quantum mechanisms. Furthermore recent experimental evidence indicates quantum nonlocality occurring in conscious and subconscious brain function, and functional quantum processes in molecular biology are becoming more and more apparent. Much like study of the brain's synaptic connection promoted artificial neural networks in the 1980's, appreciation of biological quantum information processing may promote quantum information technology. Moreover macroscopic quantum processes are being proposed as intrinsic features in cosmology, evolution and social interactions. Following the first "Quantum Mind" conference held in Flagstaff at Northern Arizona University in 1999, "Quantum Mind 2003" will update current status and future directions, and provide dialog with skeptical criticism of the proposed synthesis of quantum information science and the brain.

Keywords


quantum mind, 2003, Arizona University, quantum brain, meeting

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