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Quantum Indeterminacy of Emergent Spacetime

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It is shown that nearly-flat 3+1D spacetime emerging from a dual quantum field theory in 2+1D displays quantum fluctuations from classical Euclidean geometry on macroscopic scales. A covariant holographic mapping is assumed, where plane wave states with wavevector k on a 2D surface map onto classical null trajectories in the emergent third dimension at an angle \theta=l_P k relative to the surface element normal, where l_P denotes the Planck length. Null trajectories in the 3+1D world then display quantum uncertainty of angular orientation, with standard deviation \Delta\theta=\sqrt{l_P/z} for longitudinal propagation distance z in a given frame. The quantum complementarity of transverse position at macroscopically separated events along null trajectories corresponds to a geometry that is not completely classical, but displays observable holographic quantum noise. A statistical estimator of the fluctuations from Euclidean behavior is given for a simple thought experiment based on measured sides of triangles. The effect can be viewed as sampling noise due to the limited degrees of freedom of such a theory, consistent with covariant bounds on entropy.

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