Irrational thinking mimics much of what we observe in quantum physics

Quantum Physics Explains Why You Suck at Making Decisions (but what about AI?)

We normally think of physics and psychology inhabiting two very distinct places in science, but when you realize they exist in the same universe, you start to see connections and find out how they can learn from one-another. Case in point: a pair of new studies by researchers at Ohio State University that argue how quantum physics can explain human irrationality and paradoxical thinking — and how this way of thinking can actually be of great benefit.

Conventional problem-solving and decision-making processes often lead on classical probability theory, which outlines how humans make their best choices based on evaluating the probability of good outcomes.

But according to Zheng Joyce Wang, a communications researcher who led both studies, choices that don’t line up with classical probability theory are often labeled “irrational.” Yet, “they’re consistent with quantum theory — and with how people really behave,” she says.

The two new papers suggest that seemingly-irrational thinking mimics much of what we observe in quantum physics, which we normally think of as extremely chaotic and almost hopelessly random.

Quantum-like behavior and choices don’t follow standard, logical processes and outcomes. But like quantum physics, quantum-like behavior and thinking, Wang argues, can help us to understand complex questions better.

Wang argues that before we make a choice, our options are all superpositioned. Each possibility adds a whole new layer of dimensions, making the decision process even more complicated. Under conventional approaches to psychology, the process makes no sense, but under a quantum approach, Wang argues that the decision-making process suddenly becomes clear.


PL – As noted in other posts on this site, AI is rational, based on logic and following rules. And that has its own complications. (see Google cars post.)

If humans, as these papers suggest, operate in a different space, mimicking much of quantum physics, the question we should be asking ourselves is: What would it take for average humans and machines to COLLABORATE in solution-finding? Particularly, about human behavior and growth — the “tough human stuff,” as we, the writers of this blog, have labeled it. 

Let’s not make this about one or the other. How can humans and machines benefit each other? Is there a way to bridge the divide? We propose there is.