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Lars Gyrup Brink Nielsen for This is Learning

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The quantum duck debugging theory

Cover photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash.

Rubber duck debugging

We all know rubber duck debugging. When forcing ourselves to simplify and explain what we're trying to do, we often experience a stroke of enlightenment.

This works even better with a real person, because of the direct interaction and the opportunity for our real-life rubber duck to ask questions that makes us think harder about it.

Quantum physics

The field of quantum mechanics proves that everything is made from the same particles and that those particles are never lost. This means that we are made from particles that might have been part of another person at some point in time.

The holographic principle from string theory even suggests that information embedded in particles is never lost.

Quantum entanglement shows that a group of particles can have a correlated quantum state, even with a far distance between them.

Interpersonal entanglement

One could argue that being conscious is being aware. Aware of what, you might ask? Aware because of past experiences. How do we humans have an intuition about certain things that we didn't experience ourselves? By knowledge sharing and information, surely.

It could seem though that we also get some of our awareness from our very DNA which of course is inherited from ancestor to descendant relative.

If we are all made of the same particles, information is never lost and it seems like memory or awareness is stored in DNA, could it not be possible that we as individuals could be interconnected with other persons?

Could it not be that a form of interpersonal entanglement is possible?

Who says that we have to biologically inherit awareness from our ancestors?

What if our particles and information could become entangled with people we know? Or even people we don't know? People, whose particles and information we receive through whatever means?

Quantum duck debugging

Hypothesizing on all of this, it would make sense that we can somehow harness that interpersonal entanglement.

Michael Hladky proposes that when we meet other people or engage with their written or otherwise recorded knowledge and wisdom, our particles and the information they store can become entangled.

He uses this to his advantage. When he's struggling with a difficult problem, he doesn't talk to a rubber duck. Instead, he imagines what a certain person he's aware of, possibly an expert in the field, would ask him about that issue. He imagines or says out loud how he would explain it to his quantum-entangled friend.

Michael feels like this process gives him access to the knowledge and wit of his friends and other smart people.

Further than that, Michael occasionally uses quantum duck debugging to access some of my knowledge which helps him solve certain technical or abstract challenges.

Quantum duck debugging: Accessing the knowledge of a person you know or are aware of by tuning into their mindset and interconnecting through your entangled particles and information.

Michael has struggled with quantum duck debugging a person that he does not sympathize with. This has never worked. There is a disturbance at the quantum level.

While quantum duck debugging works with authors of books that Michael Hladky has never met, it works even better when he has met someone in person. There's a deeper connection, a tighter quantum entanglement.

Personal encounters

After learning about quantum duck debugging, I have had an experience like this. I was trying to solve a novel problem. I had a quick chat with my tech community friend, Manfred Steyer. It was late, so we decided to explore it further at a later time.

Two days later, I started my day by listening to a tech talk by Manfred while commuting. I was listening carefully to every word he spoke and his voice was resonating with me sometime after my commute ended. That evening, I went back to the problem. On my very first try, I solved it without barely thinking about it. My quantum duck debugging session with Manfred was a success and he was excited about my solution when I told him about it.

Michael and I even had an experience where I was asleep. In the same minute that Michael sent me a message, I suddenly woke up. Unaware of what was going on, I got out of bed. When I checked my phone a few minutes later, I noticed the messages from Michael asking for my help. It's not that I get notifications for the kind of message, Michael sent me. My phone was in silent mode on an entirely different floor of the house than me.

The quantum duck debugging theory about quantum-entangled rubber duck debugging using real-life subjects is proposed by Michael Hladky.

Top comments (4)

sergiutalnaci profile image

The Quantum duck section made me smile, the following paragraphs kept me in a quantum state, since I had to attend a boring meeting 10 minutes before I started reading it.

layzee profile image
Lars Gyrup Brink Nielsen

Thanks Sergiu. I spent quite some time learning about quantum physics and mechanics as part of this experiment. The scientific parts of this article might not be 100% accurate, but at the very least I hope they inspire readers to go learn more about the topics.

Sloan, the sloth mascot
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layzee profile image
Lars Gyrup Brink Nielsen • Edited

You fully understand every part of physics at the quantum level? Please, enlighten me.

Also, relax. This is a technique to help you structure your thoughts and get work done. We're not actually proposing a scientific theory 😊