Why Black Holes Eat Information
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Abstract: Every fan of science fiction knows that if you fall behind the event horizon of a black hole, no one outside will ever hear from you again. Physicists are taught that this happens because spacetime around a black hole is so warped that all futures point in, and so no information escapes. In this talk, I will describe recent insights which suggest that this apparent geometric warping is actually a coarse description of a more fundamental effect: the quantum state of the system inside a black hole becomes algorithmically complex. In fact, it is so complex, that it becomes impossible for the universe outside to decode it in a time less than the age of the universe — at least using the simple local operations accessible to conventional physical systems.