The internet's techno-apocalypse + Quantum physics provides a way to hide ignorance

How to avoid a techno-apocalypse brought on by the internet

EXCERPT: . . . The book [Fall; or, Dodge in Hell] is one of many recent ones that tackle one of the questions of our time. As comedian Ronny Chieng put it in his Netflix special: “Who knew all of human knowledge could make people dumber?” The internet was supposed to unleash new dimensions of collective human potential by bringing knowledge to the masses. What no one took into account is that not all our knowledge is smart. An overwhelming amount of what the world “knows” is a mix of campfire stories, gossip and conspiracy theories. And now we have built a machine that sprays it all, fully homogenised straight into our brains.

Stephenson isn’t alone in predicting a resulting backslide for civilisation. In Tim Maughan’s novel Infinite Detail, a hacker collective gets tired of how the internet has been turned into a control tool for a powerful few and takes the whole thing down. But as demolishing the internet also takes down everything that relies on it to function – which of course is everything – the result is the collapse of society. (MORE - details)

Quantum physics provides a way to hide ignorance

RELEASE: Students can hide their ignorance and answer questions correctly in an exam without their lack of knowledge being detected by teachers - but only in the quantum world. University of Queensland researchers have successfully verified a counterintuitive idea from quantum theory - that ignorance of the whole does not necessarily imply ignorance of the parts - in the lab.

UQ physicist Dr Jacqui Romero from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS) said the team’s findings would be important when evaluating security in quantum encryption. “What's also really nice is that we provide an accessible, real-world interpretation of a statement that comes from pure probability theory,” Dr Romero said.

According to classical intuition, ignorance can be traced to a source - if a student’s knowledge of a book is incomplete, a teacher can design a test to probe which parts of the book are unknown to the student. UQ PhD candidate and EQUS experimental physicist Michael Kewming said that this wasn’t always the case in the quantum world.

“Our results confirm that the student’s source of ignorance can be concealed from the teacher using quantum systems,” Mr Kewming said. “When we communicate, we use special symbols called letters that form an alphabet. In our study, we do the same thing but we use light to create a quantum alphabet.”

According to Mr Kewming quantum alphabets have strange properties. “Let’s say the student is sitting an exam that covers two topics, and although they haven’t studied they’ve been given a single hint by a knowledgeable friend,” he said. “In the classical situation, this hint can only be so helpful - providing information about only one topic - and the teacher can still uncover which topic the student is ignorant of. But a hint written using our quantum alphabet could simultaneously contain information about both topics, despite appearing to be about only one. As a result, the teacher cannot determine the source of the student's ignorance because the hint is always useful to the student.”

The UQ research team was able to verify this in a physical experiment by writing information in the shape of single photons - the particles that make up light. “Our result has implications for the security of quantum-based encryption because we have shown that what is true for classical hints is not true for quantum hints,” Dr Romero said.

Unfortunately for students preparing for exams, quantum hints won’t be available outside the lab anytime soon. The results are published in Physical Review Letters.
Re: How to avoid a techno-apocalypse brought on by the internet

I saw the decline in the making some years back. When I joined the internet it was the mid-90's, I was new to it and it was super expensive to access as a private citizen (Premium rate phone numbers were used by companies like AOL and Compuserve that charged over a pound per minute. While that might not seem much the baud rate back then was not much more than a fax machine [9,600] at about 14,4 kbs so downloading 1 mb took over 1 minute.)

Back then the actual Internet didn't really exist in the form we know now, yeah there was web browsers but they were in their infancy. (Most stuff was still only accessible via telnet directly to servers or within the confines of the corporate networks) What did exist on the internet though was the earliest forms of chatroom, bulletin boards [usernet/newsgroups] and forums which was a mixture of researchers, scientists, scholars and of course students.

Advertising didn't really happen much back then, since to download an advertising image would of cost both money and took too long to download which itself would of undermined the product being advertised (though upsetting people) it was part of the reason for the "BoomDotBomb", the point just prior to 2000 where the internets growth increased as marketeers suddenly realised how they could turn it into a way to sell their crap, where they borrowed a bunch of cash to setup but then suffered significantly from not actually knowing how to apply it in a working manner in a timeframe that was achievable (creating a collapse in about 2002-2003) (Market boom followed by market bomb)

While the increase in money being poured into creating the internet infrastructure to sell crap to people was useful in making it available to all, it also had to the downside. I suppose you could apply it as class-ist but originally I guess I was a little bit of an elitist, while indeed I spouted various conspiracy theory and rubbish like most people do day to day online, I was outreaching for aid in any educational failings through people that at the time could actually help. As the advertising guru's, marketeers and hipsters of the Internet Epoch pushed for Influencers, Channel owners and "Likes" , I saw a greater decline in what magnetised me to the internet originally.... The ability to learn from credible information.

I though the internet should have been split in two at a certain point, whereby one version would move towards all the new shiny gadgets and mass marketing (Constantly keeping to updated software and blocking anyone not keeping up with the right version number), sporting the eshops and hide behind government legislation (tighter controls on abuse, hacking etc) with a corporate firewall to tighten its security where as the other internet would of been the same as what we have... the one that attempts to merge dated technologies together, filled with prototype and lapse controls with the intention of maintaining it's freedom.

The problem is that you've got this "One thing to suit all purposes" being abused and used by people for all manner of different things, and while that can be wonderful it can also lead to a breakdown in the long run as one type of people don't want another type of people using it a particular way which just leads to defiance.

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