Have We Solved the Black Hole Information Paradox?
The main thrust of my new work is to realize that there are multiple layers of descriptions of a black hole, and the preservation of information and the smoothness of the horizon refer to theories at different layers. At one level, we can describe a black hole as viewed from a distance: the black hole is formed by collapse of matter, which eventually evaporates leaving the quanta of Hawking radiation in space. From this perspective, Maldacena’s insight holds and there is no information loss in the process. That is because, in this picture, an object falling toward the black hole never enters the horizon, not because of a firewall but because of time delay between the clock of the falling object and that of a distant observer. The object seems to be slowly “absorbed” into the horizon, and its information is later sent back to space in the form of subtle correlations between particles of Hawking radiation.