September 12, 2004

The Universe, levels of information (and us)

Little something relating to friendly AIs thread, but on others too so I thought I'll make a new thread for it.

Axiom 1: The universe can be seen as information. The amount of information, the fineness of it, has been increasing since the beginning. While we can not say anything definite on the reason of this, we could postulate that the Universe wants to evolve.

Axiom 2: New levels of finer information need previous levels to build upon.

Axiom 3: Newer levels refine information faster than the old ones.

I'll explain first a bit how I came to these.

Big Bang. First there is minimal information: matter and anti-matter.
After some time particles start forming, so we have more distinctive entities => more information
Bit later we have atoms, electrons spinning around protons, which already is hell of a lot more information.
Atoms get together as stars, get old and explode spreading heavier elements around, until theres enough of them for planets.

This is would call the first level: the material level. It took a good couple billion of years for the Universe to evolve to this level. Very slow indeed, but the good thing with this slow approach is that the information is fairly durable: if you have information in the form of a planet, you have that information there for a very long time.

The first level is needed for the second: life. You can't have a good life without any material... and a reasonably peaceful planet within a pleasant distance from a nice and cool star. The basic approach with life-information is completely different to material-information. Where the latter is durable but slow, life is very fast but of very short duration. The solution to that problem is that life carries information from one generation to another, thus information is not lost when the carrier of it decays.

Life has been quite slow too in refining information: from the first one cell creatures to anything even crawling took hundreds of millions of years (or billions, a bloody long time nevertheless).

Some ten thousand years ago the third level appeared: technology. It can evolve incredibly much faster than life, but can not exist without life - the third level needs the second as a base.

Or does it? Could technology survive on level one - material - alone, without the life level in between? Can you imagine a machine operating on atomic level? And a network of these machines, the network also operating on the atomic level? And machines that eventually do not need any specifically ordered atoms, but can process information on any matter? Every grain of sand being a node in the planet wide cluster computer? I can imagine that.

What do you think? Is such cluster possible, and if so when? And where to after that? And if/when such technology comes to existence, how will it relate itself to (unnecessary) life? Will it save us from the ecological catastrophe or will it just look by as life ceases to exist on earth?

Limited Conciousness

I resemble Bill´s topic title on Limited Imagination because this question arouse in my head while reading attentively what you are saying at that thread.

The question is: What if the constitution of our intelligence / mind / conciousness -what we use to learn, think, feel, remember and create, the SOFTWARE that runs the Brain, but at the same time is built by it with adjustment, expandings, prunning, etc... What if the "self" of it, by definition, will never allow us to understand it?

Is clear the question? What if the mind, on order to be what it is entirely, makes its true full constitution unreachable to our conciousness? I just wonder...