Recently I had the chance to see the new Tom Cruise movie which is out titled “Edge of Tomorrow” and it got me thinking in a quantum sense. Now in all fairness I am going to warn you up front of a spoiler alert. While it isn’t my intent to go deeply into the overall plot of the movie. To make the analogies to support my point I will have to share several key spoilers of the storyline so be forewarned if you read on.
The premiss which caught my attention was a plot sequence involving the lead character Major William Cage (played by Tom Cruise) where, while killing an alien he is covered in its blood and from that point on , upon his death the day is “reset”. While this might sound a bit like the classic movie Ground Hog Day, the difference is for Bill Murray was that the “day” itself restarted each day and was limited to one day. However for Cruise’s character it only “resets” at his death meaning so long as he lives the arrow of time moves forward be it minutes, hours or days.
With this there were two interesting parts from a thought experiment side. The first being that the Cruise character Cage got to see the “future” and quickly discovered this was the aliens advantage as if there was a negative outcome of a battle (for the aliens) they simply rewound time and did it over again until the outcome resulted in one which was favorable to them (the aliens). The second is that no one was aware of this “reset” so they simply existed within the loop unknowingly repeatedly both living and dying.
Yet, it was this first point which reminded me of Schrödinger’s Cat where the cat in the scenario is said to be both alive and dead until the point the box is opened and the result observed. The thought experiment which ran through my head as a result of the movie, was this was a loop which was playing though for the cat in the box repeatedly much like it was for Major Cage in the movie. As in my original view [of Schrödinger’s Cat] there was a [static] duality in the box where the cat was both alive and dead simultaneously.
However the movies plot concept changed this thinking as it made me realize there is more to it than just is the cat alive or dead (in fairness I thought of it more in the way of the double slit experiment in absolutes). As there are (and not to sound morbid) other factors to consider in the cat scenario. Such as how long did it take for the cat to die, which organs failed first and so on. In other words there is a sequence of events which happen to either which leads to the cat demise or survival.
This is what was happening to Cruise’s character in the movie as keep in mind when there was a “reset” (i.e. Cage would die), time went back to “zero” so in fact while all of these scenario’s happen in a “serial” fashion they were all in the same “space” of time which got me to thinking about Schrödinger’s box itself.
As what if you opened it 10 times, would the cat be alive 5 and dead 5 (as the poison has a 50/50 chance of releasing)? Or would it be asymmetrical as possibly you open the box before the cat expires changing the outcome? Also say the prior scenario where to happen [i.e. the cat live], would this not be luck? As think about it this way, all of these scenarios are happening in the same space of time, or simultaneously (at least in appearance) so the “realized” outcome would only occur at the moment it was observed. In other words, luck (good or bad) would be a result of the time the observance took place.
Moving to the second observation is the people other than Cage were unaware of the loop either existing or that there were various out comes. So in essence Schrödinger’s Box isn’t “limited”, it in fact is “unlimited” and the world we exist in today could be metaphorically viewed as in that “box”. Therefore is a the manifestation of “luck” simply that of the time of observation? If so, what determines the time of observation of that “time” over another?
In other words, lets say we are playing Black Jack and the dealer asks you if you want to be hit. Will the resulting card be different if you wait 3 second for the hit rather than 10 seconds? Now I know this sounds a bit outlandish, however if you think about it, it is really no different from the case of Schrödinger’s Cat as its state is only known at the point of observation and if you change the point of observation you again only know it from that point. In short, I can not think up a practical experiment in the physical world to test such a scenario.
Now I know you purists out there are rolling your eyes and mumbling about entropy, the arrow of time and the idea a “reset” would in fact violate the laws of thermodynamics. Yet before you jump to a quick judgement, keep in mind that are many strange things in the quantum world which are far from explainable. Therefore it would seem possible there some from of conservation which we are unaware of which might in fact allow a reset (actually numerous resets) to happen…