Theoretical Computer Scientist Writes Commercial

MIT computer scientist Scott Aaronson, whose blog “Shtetl-Optimized” I highly recommend, just found out that an advertising company used some lines out of one of his lectures in a commercial for Ricoh printers, without giving him any kind of credit, much less compensation. The dialogue, copied nearly verbatim, runs as follows:

Model 1: But if quantum mechanics isn’t physics in the usual sense – if it’s not about matter, or energy, or waves – then what is it about?

Model 2: Well, from my perspective, it’s about information, probabilities, and observables, and how they relate to each other.

Model 1: That’s interesting!

I found the last line rather lame, compared to possible alternatives like “Hmm, let me think about that for a bit”, “Could you explain that in more detail?” or, my personal favorite, “That’s a bunch of crap!”. Scott was quick to point out that that line was the only one in the commercial he didn’t write.

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