Quantum Procrastination

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Science  02 Nov 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6107, pp. 621-622
DOI: 10.1126/science.1229825

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Do you have a decision you have to make but you just can't bring yourself to do it? As the irrevocable moment approaches, you squirm more and more, but something inside you says, “Not now, not yet.” Then when it's already almost too late, in a burst of energy and shame, you come through—or not. Afterward, you are irrationally resentful, as if someone other than yourself is responsible for disturbing your peace of mind. You vow that the next time a decision arises, you will make it expeditiously. If you are a severe procrastinator like me (at least when it came to starting this article), have hope—quantum mechanics is coming to your rescue. On pages 637 and 634 of this issue, experiments by Kaiser et al. (1) and Peruzzo et al. (2) show that in the presence of quantum entanglement (in which outcomes of measurements are tied together), it is possible to hold off making a decision, even if events seem to have already made one. Quantum procrastination (“proquastination”) allows you to put off for tomorrow what you should have done today.