An academic from the Massachussets Institute of Technology (MIT) has raised a storm in a teacup over the dialogue between two models in an ad for Ricoh printers that is flighting in Australia – claiming that text from one of his lectures has been plagiarised.
In the ad, two models carry out a very short conversation about quantum mechanics before the pay-off line "A more intelligent model" flashes across a picture of the latest Ricoh printer.
However, Scott Aaronson, an assistant professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at MIT, says the dialogue comes straight from his lecture on quantum mechanics.
The ad dialogue goes 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!"
In his blog entry entitled "Australian actresses are plagiarizing my quantum mechanics lecture to sell printers", Aaronson points out that Lecture 9 of his Quantum Computing Since Democritus notes: "But if quantum mechanics isn’t physics in the usual sense — if it’s not about matter, or energy, or waves, or particles — then what is it about? From my perspective, it’s about information and probabilities and observables, and how they relate to each other."
The blog has attracted a lively following both in the US and Australia, with readers offering advice ranging from sueing the company to laughing the matter off.
Apparently, the ad agency has responded with an apology.