To truly copy physical reality, one must understand what it actually is in the first place. It is clear that a photo of me is not me, nor is a movie of me, nor is a biological replica of me. So if quantum processing creates physical events as quantum theory implies, why not copy that quantum processing?
Research into quantum processing reveals that it is more powerful than physical processing because it is based on qubits not bits. While a bit is a choice between two states, a qubit can also take any superposition of them, i.e. can be both zero and one at the same time. So quantum processing isn’t just better than physical processing, it is enormously better, e.g. doubling the processing of my computer requires double the bits but doubling that of a quantum computer requires the addition of just one qubit. Quantum computers are a whole new processing level.
We don’t “do” quantum computing in the way that we do physical computing but rather just set up a situation that lets us use what naturally occurs. We tap into quantum processing rather than cause it. It is not surprising to quantum realism that what processes physical reality performs beyond anything we can achieve by physical means.
Quantum processing can be seen as the creation of processing in the same way that processing is seen as the creation of information. While a bit is based on one process making one choice between two options, a qubit can be seen as two processes making two choices between two options. This lets a qubit include the outcome of a superposition of both options, if the two choices go different ways. Thus quantum processing is able to choose all possible options rather than just pick one.
This leads to a definition of quantum processing as the creation of processing, just as processing is the creation of information. Quantum processing is then dynamic in the sense of being a creative act, just as our processing is dynamic in the sense of being the act of creating information.
If quantum processing creates physical reality, to really duplicate a physical event one must copy the quantum processing behind it. Unfortunately, the quantum no-cloning theorem explicitly excludes this. It states that it is impossible to create an identical copy of a quantum state because it cannot be known, as to “know” a quantum state is to collapse and so destroy it. This fundamental premise of quantum theory implies that talk of uploading and downloading universes, minds or even ourselves to a virtual heaven or hell have no basis in quantum theory or information theory. It is all just wishful thinking.
Quantum theory describes quantum waves that expand at the speed of light until they are observed and collapse to a physical event. Quantum realism interprets these waves as processing waves, as the next chapter explains for light. Processing waves are events not things, and the only way to “save” an event is to run it again. One can save and reload states but not events since the act of storing an event is another event. It follows that a quantum network that generates processing has no capacity to store it. We can save and reload physical states but the quantum processing generating them can’t be saved. While our cell-phone and Internet networks use caches and buffers to handle overloads, the quantum network proposed can’t use static memory of any sort. While our processing devices like computers and cell-phones use storage, quantum nodes don’t have that option.
The quantum no-storage statement results from the quantum no-cloning principle that in turn follows from what makes quantum processing so powerful – that it is processing creating processing. The benefit is that being inherently dynamic, quantum processing isn’t based on physical states so McCabe’s argument doesn’t apply. From this point, the term “processing” often refers to quantum processing not the physical-based processing of our devices.