An Algorithmic Interpretation of Quantum Probability
Randall, Allan Frederick
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The Everett (or relative-state, or many-worlds) interpretation of quantum mechanics has come under fire for inadequately dealing with the Born rule (the formula for calculating quantum probabilities). Numerous attempts have been made to derive this rule from the perspective of observers within the quantum wavefunction. These are not really analytic proofs, but are rather attempts to derive the Born rule as a synthetic a priori necessity, given the nature of human observers (a fact not fully appreciated even by all of those who have attempted such proofs). I show why existing attempts are unsuccessful or only partly successful, and postulate that Solomonoff's algorithmic approach to the interpretation of probability theory could clarify the problems with these approaches. The Sleeping Beauty probability puzzle is used as a springboard from which to deduce an objectivist, yet synthetic a priori framework for quantum probabilities, that properly frames the role of self-location and self-selection (anthropic) principles in probability theory. I call this framework "algorithmic synthetic unity" (or ASU). I offer no new formal proof of the Born rule, largely because I feel that existing proofs (particularly that of Gleason) are already adequate, and as close to being a formal proof as one should expect or want. Gleason's one unjustified assumption--known as noncontextuality--is, I will argue, completely benign when considered within the algorithmic framework that I propose. I will also argue that, to the extent the Born rule can be derived within ASU, there is no reason to suppose that we could not also derive all the other fundamental postulates of quantum theory, as well. There is nothing special here about the Born rule, and I suggest that a completely successful Born rule proof might only be possible once all the other postulates become part of the derivation. As a start towards this end, I show how we can already derive the essential content of the fundamental postulates of quantum mechanics, at least in outline, and especially if we allow some educated and well-motivated guesswork along the way. The result is some steps towards a coherent and consistent algorithmic interpretation of quantum mechanics.