Can these sophons prevent accidental or random discoveries? There seems to be a slight misconception on how new technologies and forms of science are developed.
We don't just build big "science-y" machines for doing "the science" turn them on and just set back to see what happens when the "universal ethereal machine of science-y-ness" starts science-ing.
A scientist postulates a hypothesis, they then share this hypothesis with other scientists who then do their own calculations in order to see if their calculations match up with the scientist who came up with the hypothesis, if they all agree then the hypothesis becomes a working theory.
Now normally this is where you would build a big machine to runs decades of tests to confirm the theory, but you can't do that now because the results will apparently be scrambled all to hell and back. But what if you just skipped straight to the prototype phase?
I'll lay it out in another way. We have a theory that says this super-duper alien liquefying micro-mega machine space aids thingamabob will work this way if we build it that way using this other tech we already know. So we build it. No quantum computer testing that can be fucked with or scrambled by "sophons". We take the weapon out to the edge of the system, something that would be easily achievable if only we'd stop shooting at each other for more than five minutes, and test it the old fashion way. If it doesn't work do it again making minor adjustments each time until it does.
This entire "problem" seems to work on the assumption that we build things like the Hadron Collider to develop theories. When it's actually the scientists who actually develop the theories, and they generally do so using something as old as our civilization, a pen and some paper (or chalk and slate hey I'm not judging). The hadron collider is used to confirm already hypothesized theories in a 'safe' environment and so would any other mega science machine we build.
To reiterate, we use these machines to conduct these test safely and hopefully without damaging the environment (to badly) or killing (to many) people.
I'm pretty sure that instead of placing a glass ceiling on human technological development it would instead make advances more erratic and by extension more dangerous. Quantum physicist wouldn't be seen as boring people who spend all day staring at complex physics problems anymore they would be be seen as the science equivalent of daredevils. People who write up insanely dangerous tests and build im/possibly destructive devices. Seeing as you can't run proper tests anymore the only way to see if something works is to build a prototype and, well, push the big red button to see if the incomprehensible chalk and ink scribbles you've spent the last twenty years agonizing over actually meant anything.
We'd be back to the days when the only way to see if your "atom bomb" would work the way your calculations said it would is to build it and flip the switch to see what happens, and if your bomb ignites the planets' entire atmosphere and kills everyone then what does it matter? You're all going to die anyway when the aliens get here.
I'm seeing mathematics becoming a massively important skill.
Or I could just be really tired right now and I'm just rambling on like and idiot because I'm missing something obvious because this is somewhat confusing.
* Sophons are subatomic AI built using 1.5D photons. They can travel at the speed of light, allow instantaneous FTL transmission of information between Earth and the alien homeworld via entanglement, and can alter the effects of any reactions of experiment on the submolecular level.
That's not how quantum entanglement works.
This can't be used for offensive purposes, but it does means that they can sabotage the result of any experiment on the submolecular/subatomic level.
First of all does this even make any damned sense? First it says sophons "can't be used for offensive porpuses" then it says that they can used to "sabotage the result of any experiment on the submolecular/subatomic level". Okay I'm sorry but if these little fuckers can be used to make changes to the results of a "submolecular/subatomic" experiment (which by the way is an utterly redundant phrase, if sophons can make changes on the subatomic level then submolecular goes without saying) then that by definition means that sophons can change how subatomic particles function and by extension atoms. Think about that for a second, you could use sophons to increase the atomic weight of atoms which means you change how they function. Imagine all the uranium/plutonium on the planet suddenly increasing in mass just enough to make it go critical. This means that they can most certainly be used in an offensive manor.
Now let's say that's not what it means, let's say that it's not actually making changes to subatomic particles it's just stopping certain reactions from occurring by interfering with how various atoms, and by extension molecules react with one another. Okay then why stop at experiments? Why not use the sophons to stop the combustion process from occurring in combustion engines? Or stop electricity from traveling through circuits and down power lines? If you have the ability to actively sabotage and/or change the results of all science experiments all the way down to the subatomic level that means you are actively making physical changes to matter. Whether the changes are being made to the device being used to monitor the experiment or making changes to the experiment itself or even the data from the experiment once its been recorded to your hard drive a physical change is being made.
Do I even need to mention "The Sophons serve to let humanity know about the aliens plan, once they're discovered, by inscribing a message on the retina of every human on earth "You're Bugs".
That's not just changing how atoms work that's changing the structures of entire molecules. You're literally rearranging them in such a way that the new structure is not only clearly visible but readable
, and you're doing this to every human being on the planet... at the same time.
Here's another thing. How do we record data today? We mostly use magnets. Whether it's on a hard drive or flash drive or floppy disk they all share the same basic mode for recording data, 1s and 0s. Each digit on the drive is made up of a single microscopic magnet and the polarity of these magnets determine whether the data on it is read as a 1 or a 0 (you all obviously know this but hang on a second).
Let's say the way sophons interfere with experiments isn't by physically interfering with them (i.e. change how atoms/molecules work/interact) but rather by corrupting the data once it's recorded by randomly changing the polarity of magnets on your drive (never mind the fact that this is still making a physical change to a physical object). Again why stop there? How much of today's technology relies extensively on magnets of every size imaginable. You could damn near send all of humanity straight back into the stone age by simply reversing the polarity of every magnet in every computer, vehicle, or industrial device on the planet.