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Are we just a measurement device that interacts with quantum wave function/photons or something more? if not then can we die/be destroyed as observer?

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marked as duplicate by David Hammen, ZeroTheHero, John Rennie, Emilio Pisanty quantum-mechanics Aug 9 '18 at 5:47

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  • $\begingroup$ Why would you think that QM singles out yourself as “special”? Any reasonably classical measuring device like particle detector is also an observer. Can a detector be destroyed? Of course it can. $\endgroup$ – Solenodon Paradoxus Aug 8 '18 at 22:44
  • $\begingroup$ The wave function collapses upon interaction, but not upon observation. The existence of the actual observer is irrelevant. For example, a detector near a slit in the double slit experiment interacts with the passing particles. Upon interaction, the detector can give you an output to inform you of the interaction. Well, if you cut the output cable from the detector, the detector would continue interacting with the passing particles, but you would have no idea if it did or not. The result of the experiment would be the same (in lines of interference) whether anyone conscious observes it or not. $\endgroup$ – safesphere Aug 8 '18 at 23:50
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I think its safe to say that the vast majority of people in the QM field generally ignore this question (what is an observer/observation) as nonsense in the first degree. We may not understand wavefunction collapse (assuming it exists) but that doesn't mean you have to invent nonsense to explain it. You may not know exactly how your car works either, but you can still drive it, you don't have to imagine unicorn horn in the gas tank.

I say this because in my own brain I simply assume that the entire observer issue is not really an issue, and that someday someone will "figure it out". And when they do, all questions of this sort will simply disappear. It will become like "how fast does a dirigible need to fly?" the day after the 747 entered service.

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  • $\begingroup$ You're getting downvotes for the simple fact that you even bothered to answer this question. Some questions are best left unanswered. $\endgroup$ – David Hammen Aug 8 '18 at 23:25
  • $\begingroup$ Why not? We invent nonsense every day: dark energy, origin of species, social justice... $\endgroup$ – safesphere Aug 9 '18 at 0:07

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