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Phi for All

Coin Toss Machine

43 posts in this topic

 

With coin tossing there is only one way (and therefore one probability) to report a given outcome.

 

With die rolling you can report

 

...

 

This is undoubtedly true, but what does that mean from the context of this discussion? We're arguing getting one arbitrary result as a goal, so the die would work just as well as the coin, right? And it would surely be much easier to get a die to land on the desired outcome than it would a coin to land on the edge.

 

 

As regards the probability of a baseball penetrating a brick wall you don't need to be able to calculate it exactly if you can show it is below some acceptable level.

 

Yes but koti is right, QM might be relevant here. We're talking technicalities, so technically, flipped an infinite amount of times, it would eventually fall through the table (an infinite amount of times) with a probability of 1 (almost surely ;) ). But I'm trying to go further here. To us, this occurence would be a random disturbance in the pattern. The same way how we would go from the coin flip being a randomness to it being a certainty with enough information and a good machine, why couldn't this ''falling through the table'' be a certainty with a high enough level of calculation and a perfect machine, rather than be considered as randomness?

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Have a more careful look at what I wrote.

 

The baseball has a low probability of penetration in qm and zero probability in classical mechanics.

Semiconductor electronics works because charges have a high probabaility of penetration, allowing frequent, desirable,'quantum' effects.

 

If what I said about the coin toss was not true, it would be impossible to create a perfect tosser, even in a thought experiment, because you would have to account separately for an possibly infinite number of possible minor outcomes with low probability, instead of lumping them all together.

 

Getting bogged down in over accurate calculation minutae rather than getting a handle on this aspect of probability is like missing the wood for the trees.

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I see what you mean. This would be true only and only if there was an infinite number of possible minor outcomes and it's a good point.

 

So we are agreed that, technically speaking, a perfect machine should be able to predict this with a probability of 1, even when QM is considered, right?

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You simply can't duplicate conditions 100.0 (add zeroes)%. Even the time of year and position of the Moon becomes a factor for some coins (not that I am even hazarding a guess at the edge/stability requirement of the coins) but some things are simply going to be effectively random at the Newtonian level, never mind quantum effects.

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It depends on the coin.
All you need to do is found your own currency with coins that look like sticks, rather than like disks.

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As for the coin toss Im thinking that its all doable like we agreed on unless we start trying to controll the micro scale. I mean if we were to want to have an outcome of a coin toss on its edge every time in say 100 milion tosses then it seems to me we'd have to start worrying about controlling the conditions of this experiment on the particle level and that would get us into the wave probability function side of things.

I doubt it. The probability is 1 in 6000 which isn't that extraordinarily low. The machine would still have to be very accurate and expensive.

For example, if I have a box with bouncy balls in it, and I shake it forever in the same exact repeating pattern, a hypothetical perfect machine will be able to calculate the position of the marbles at any given point in the future. It justs adds in the velocity of the marble, the angle of deflection with the walls of the box and other marbles, then the angle of deflection once it hits again and it just keeps going forever. To say that entropy would make it impossible to calculate this would be to imply that marbles violate the laws of physics and move in unpredictable ways, which is impossible. Of course, if we're talking about a human calculating all of this, it would certainly be too advanced for us and entropy would make it ''unpredictable'' for sure. It depends if we're talking from a technical or practical perspective.

No breaking of the laws of physics. A box of bouncing balls is a nice example of quantum uncertainty manifesting at macroscopic scale, since it is a very chaotic system so any small deviation or uncertainty can have large effects after only a dozen bounces.
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No breaking of the laws of physics. A box of bouncing balls is a nice example of quantum uncertainty manifesting at macroscopic scale, since it is a very chaotic system so any small deviation or uncertainty can have large effects after only a dozen bounces.

 

Well, yes, but as I said, it is a question if quantum uncertainty is uncertain because it is truly random, or because we don't recognize its pattern of randomness, thus making it random out of ignorance.

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At the moment, everything points to option A. Simple hidden variable theories have already been disproven.

 

Some complex hidden mechanism could exist, but lacking any indication of such, the default assumption is that it doesn't.

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the default assumption is that it doesn't.

 

Why? Since absolutely everything else works in the opposite way and is a direct result of something calculable before it, why is that the assumption? It seems a bit absurd to me.

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You propose adding complexity in the form of a mechanism we know nothing about (except that it has to be sufficiently complex to defy our understanding). Occam's razor doesn't like that.

 

If you don't like the randomness, try the manyworlds interpretation. There is no proof for that either, but it avoids the randomness completely without adding anything.

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You propose adding complexity in the form of a mechanism we know nothing about

 

I do not propose anything except for the fact that assuming that quantum randomness is truly random is a large assertion. As far as we know (and have known mathematically for the longest time), there is no such thing as ''true randomness''. We can only give odds of randomness for things which we cannot predict. Since quantum behavior is one of those things which we cannot predict, it seems absurd to me that the default assumption should be that it is, in fact, truly random without a mechanism.

 

Speaking from a mathematical point of view, randomness is a misnomer.

Edited by Lord Antares
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As far as we know (and have known mathematically for the longest time), there is no such thing as ''true randomness''.

Experiments concerning QM suggest there is.

 

(I'm not sure where you are getting at with the "mathematically")

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I do not propose anything except for the fact that assuming that quantum randomness is truly random is a large assertion. As far as we know (and have known mathematically for the longest time), there is no such thing as ''true randomness''. We can only give odds of randomness for things which we cannot predict. Since quantum behavior is one of those things which we cannot predict, it seems absurd to me that the default assumption should be that it is, in fact, truly random without a mechanism.

 

Speaking from a mathematical point of view, randomness is a misnomer.

HUP guarantees uncertainty, does it not?

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HUP guarantees uncertainty, does it not?

 

From our perspective, yes. The same way that a coin flip guarantees uncertainty if you do not have the tools to calculate its motion. But we do know that a coin flip is not really random.

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We did experiments and determined that a lot of things don't happen at random but appear to follow certain laws (eg tossing a coin).

More recent, we did experiments concerning QM and determined that the apparent collapse of the wave function, while following a probability distribution, does indeed appear to happen at random. Then we did more experiments for hidden variables and such specifically for this randomness, and still found that it appears to happen at random.

That is why random is the default: not because we lack theories, but because the best theories we have, which are supported by evidence, imply randomness.

 

Obviously you can be right about underlying mechanisms, but it is not the default, because it is not supported by the evidence.

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We did experiments and determined that a lot of things don't happen at random but appear to follow certain laws (eg tossing a coin).

More recent, we did experiments concerning QM and determined that the apparent collapse of the wave function, while following a probability distribution, does indeed appear to happen at random. Then we did more experiments for hidden variables and such specifically for this randomness, and still found that it appears to happen at random.

That is why random is the default: not because we lack theories, but because the best theories we have, which are supported by evidence, imply randomness.

 

Obviously you can be right about underlying mechanisms, but it is not the default, because it is not supported by the evidence.

And you have virtual particles doing their own thing, popping in and out existence, occasionally interacting at the atomic level as an ensemble.. there's plenty of room for real randomness, it seems

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We did experiments and determined that a lot of things don't happen at random but appear to follow certain laws (eg tossing a coin).

 

You mean all other things except for QM?

 

And what do you mean by experiments? You are aware, are you not, that Newton's third law being true makes the solution true by default. It literally cannot be any other way. The coin cannot land in a way which does not correspond with exactly how it was flipped. It would violate many laws of physics.

 

 

More recent, we did experiments concerning QM and determined that the apparent collapse of the wave function, while following a probability distribution, does indeed appear to happen at random. Then we did more experiments for hidden variables and such specifically for this randomness, and still found that it appears to happen at random.

 

That just means that a pattern was not recognized; it does not necessarily mean anything else.

 

 

Obviously you can be right about underlying mechanisms, but it is not the default, because it is not supported by the evidence.

 

OK, fair enough. I can get behind that. Since we do not know a particular mechanism, we cannot say with certainty that it isn't truly random. That's ok.

 

But if you were to ask me, I think it would be much more reasonable to simply say that we have not discovered how it behaves yet. But I am not being asked.

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And what do you mean by experiments? You are aware, are you not, that Newton's third law being true makes the solution true by default. It literally cannot be any other way. The coin cannot land in a way which does not correspond with exactly how it was flipped. It would violate many laws of physics.

Except that "exactly" doesn't exist.

We can approximate "exactly" close enough for a coin flipping machine to work, but quite often (not restricted to QM), even such approximation is not possible.

 

Note that none of the uncertainty and randomness of QM violate Newton's laws.

 

That just means that a pattern was not recognized; it does not necessarily mean anything else.

You are free to believe in a pattern.

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