In the future, every decision that mankind makes is going to be informed by a cognitive system like Watson…and our lives will be better for it. (Ginni Rometty commenting on IBM’s Watson) I’ve written a few posts now about the social and ethical implications of algorithmic governance (algocracy). Today, I want to take a slightly more general perspective on the same topic. To be precise, I want to do two things. First, I want to discuss the process of algorithm-construction and the two translation problems that are inherent to this process. Second, I want to consider the philosophical importance of this process. In writing about these two things, I’ll be drawing heavily from the work done by Rob Kitchin, and in particular from the ideas set out in his paper ‘Thinking critically about and researching algorithms’.
Microsoft really wants to blur the line between the digital and real worlds. While HoloLens can stick humans in a bizarro universe filled with holograms and Minecraft blocks, a new program could eventually help robots and self-driving cars better “see” their surroundings.
A team of researchers led by UCLA electrical engineers has demonstrated a new way to harness light particles, or photons, that are connected to each other and act in unison no matter how far apart they are —a phenomenon known as quantum entanglement.
In previous studies, photons have typically been entangled by one dimension of their quantum properties—usually the direction of their polarization.
In the new study, researchers demonstrated that they could slice up and entangle each photon pair into multiple dimensions using quantum properties such as the photons' energy and spin. This method, called hyperentanglement, allows each photon pair to carry much more data than was possible with previous methods.
Quantum entanglement could allow users to send data through a network and know immediately whether that data had made it to its destination without being intercepted or altered. With hyperentanglement, users could send much denser packets of information using the same networks.
The research, published today in Nature Photonics, was led by Zhenda Xie, a research scientist in the lab of Chee Wei Wong, a UCLA associate professor of electrical engineering who was the research project's principal investigator. Researchers from MIT, Columbia University, the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology were also part of the team.
Albert Einstein famously described quantum entanglement as "spooky action at a distance" because it seems so improbable that what happens to one particle in an entangled pair also happens instantly to the other particle, even over great distances. The phenomenon exceeds the speed of light.
In the new study, researchers sent hyperentangled photons in a shape known as a biphoton frequency comb, essentially breaking up entangled photons into smaller parts. In secure data transfer, photons sent over fiber optic networks can be encrypted through entanglement. With each dimension of entanglement, the amount of information carried on a photon pair is doubled, so a photon pair entangled by five dimensions can carry 32 times as much data as a pair entangled by only one. The result greatly extends from wavelength multiplexing, the method for carrying many videos over a single optical fiber.
"We show that an optical frequency comb can be generated at single photon level," Xie said. "Essentially, we're leveraging wavelength division multiplexing concepts at the quantum level."
When you think about Einstein and physics, E=mc^2 is probably the first thing that comes to mind. But one of his greatest contributions to the field actually came in the form of an odd philosophical footnote in a 1935 paper he co-wrote -- which ended up being wrong. Chad Orzel details Einstein's "EPR" paper and its insights on the strange phenomena of entangled states.
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