It from bit

Valefor Seal

American Philosophical Association Newsletter on Philosophy and Computers: Vol 12, No. 2 (Spring 2013), download here

  • Terrell Ward Bynum—“On Rethinking the Foundations of Philosophy in the Information Age”
  • Luciano Floridi*—“Hyperhistory and the Philosophy of Information Policies”
  • Anthony F. Beavers—“Is Ethics Headed for Moral Behavioralism and Should We Care?”
  • Alexandre Monnin—“The Artifactualization of Reference and ‘Substances’ on the Web”
  • Stephen L. Thaler**—“The Creativity Machine Paradigm”

Some personal hodology: found PDF twice — FFX/Goë fans might like this one — checked Grid for ruling Goë: Valefor. Ruling from 10-May @ 18:01 UTC (11:01AM PDT) to 15-May. On the 10th, It’s all about splitting |&| eigentliche Dynamik da logischen Processes.

[Today] What’s all about the splitting? :radical fragmentation of the universe: **See Thaler’s Web Cache: The Fragmentation of the Universe and the Devolution of Consciousness [at the very least: read abstract]. Thaler definitely qualifies for “outside niche circles“, and, possibly, reflexivity. Btw, that wikipage tagged for multiple issues: disputed neutrality & citations for verification; see Talk: Computational creativity. First viewed Thaler’s The Creativity Machine Paradigm from his website. Looking for more information: ping, ping & 2nd Iteration (two hours apart, different names, both 7,778KB). And, *Luciano Floridi: Quote of the Day!

is it me or does Bynum echo that new Johnny Depp movie?

“On Rethinking the Foundations of Philosophy in the Information Age”, Terrell Ward Bynum

2. “It from bit”

It is my view that a related materialist “information revolution” in philosophy began in the mid 1940s when philosopher/scientist Norbert Wiener triumphantly announced to his students and colleagues at MIT that “entropy is information.” He realized that information is physical and, therefore, it obeys the laws of physics. As a result, in 1948 in his book Cybernetics, Wiener made this important claim about philosophical materialism:

Information is information, not matter or energy. No materialism which does not admit this can survive at the present day. (p. 132)

According to Wiener, therefore, every physical being can be viewed as an informational entity. This is true even of human beings; and, in 1954, in the second edition of his book The Human Use of Human Beings, Wiener noted that the essential nature of a person depends, not upon the particular atoms that happen to comprise one’s body at any given moment, but rather upon the informational pattern encoded within the body:

We are but whirlpools in a river of ever-flowing water. We are not stuff that abides, but patterns that perpetuate themselves. (p. 96)

The individuality of the body is that of a flame… of a form rather than a bit of substance.” (p. 102)

In that same book, Wiener presented a remarkable thought experiment to show that, if one could encode, in a telegraph message, for example, the entire exquisitely complex information pattern of a person’s body, and then use that encoded pattern to reconstitute the person’s body from appropriate atoms at the receiving end of a message, people could travel instantly from place to place via telegraph. Wiener noted that this idea raises knotty philosophical questions regarding not only personal identity, but also “forking” from one person into two, “split” personalities, survival of the self after the death of one’s body, and a number of others (Wiener 1950, Ch. VI; 1954, Ch. V).

Decades later, in 1990, physicist John Archibald Wheeler introduced his famous phrase “it from bit” in an influential paper (Wheeler 1990), and he thereby gave a major impetus to an information revolution in physics. In that paper, Wheeler declared that “all things physical are information theoretic in origin”—that “every physical entity, every it, derives from bits”—that “every particle, every field of force, even the spacetime continuum itself… derives its function, its meaning, its very existence” from bits. He predicted that “Tomorrow we will have learned to understand and express all of physics in the language of information” (emphasis in the original).

Since 1990, a number of physicists—some of them inspired by Wheeler—have made great strides toward fulfilling his “it-from-bit” prediction.


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