One criticism, of the hypothesis that consciousness causes collapse, is that 'consciousness' has not been well defined. Perhaps, in order to test whether consciousness causes collapse, it is best to test it definition by definition. One such definition is that of integrated information theory, which specifies, that the level of consciousness an object has can be defined by a precise mathematical measure(Φ). This measure factors, in features such as how interdependent the parts of a system are.

Moreover, experiments have been proposed to place a microorganism, in a superposition, of a ground state and an excited state, by placing it on top of a mechanical oscillaor. The scientists, further proposed that the motion of the microorganism, can be entangled with an internal state of an electron inside of it(https://physicsworld.com/a/could-schrdingers-bacterium-be-placed-in-a-quantum-superposition/).

Since research has show that nanocomputers could potentially be built to the size of a virus(https://www.news.ucsb.edu/2016/017349/tiny-machine), logically it follows that one could place a nanocomputer(of that size), or of a slightly larger magnitude, on top of an oscillator that is capable of putting it into superposition. Although rather than placing the nanocomputers into a superposition of its ground state, and an excited state, it should be placed into a superposition of a low energy state, and an excited state, in order to allow the computer to function.

Some of the nanocomputers, will be programmed with high Φ, whereas some with no , Φ. As in the experiment involving the entanglement, of the motion of a microorganism, with an electron inside of it, similarly, one could artificially create, an electron which is stored internally, inside the nanocomputer to be entangled with its motion.

Ultimatley, this could test whether consciousness as defined by IIT causes collapse. This is because its entanglement is dependant upon the superposition of the microorganism, being in an excited state or low energy state, which would arguably not occur, in a nanocomputer with a high Φ, since according to IIT it should have collapsed to one state (whereas for no Φ entanglement would occur). Therefore, if one is unable to entangle, an internal electron with the motion of a nanocomputer, with high Φ, but they are for low Φ, one would have to reach the conclusion that this was due to the nanocomputer collapsing to a particular state(either low energy or high energy), and that this must be due to it being 'conscious', as defined by IIT, since this did not occur in the nanocomputer with low Φ. Would this experiment work in principle, as well as in practise?

  • Your description is too technical for us to judge its feasibility, you should ask on Physics SE. However, I recommend removing all references to consciousness (which is really irrelevant to the question), and just asking if one could detect any differences in collapse between nanocomputers with large and small Φ. And describe Φ more specifically than a "measure of how interdependent the parts of a system are". Depending on what this Φ is, it may affect behavior for much more mundane reasons, like altering the decoherence rate. – Conifold Jun 23 '19 at 5:33

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