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Author Topic: Does information require energy?  (Read 2830 times)

felix slager

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Does information require energy?
« on: 08/03/2009 10:30:02 »
felix slager  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Hi Chris and Naked Scientists,

thank you for the splendid podcasts, absolutely marvelous! Would this be a candidate for question of the week, it's just that i have been
wondering about it for some time ...

Is it true that information (represented patterns) always need matter
(or energy) and that immaterial information does not exist?

I was wondering about it because if you suppose information, either as
sensory input, a pattern, cause of transformation or physical property
is always bound to matter or energy, the notion of a Platonic 'spirit'
(duality, or speculations as to the existence of an incorporeal soul
with intelligence and wisdom) could be just a human illusion, something
akin to finding your vision to originate from just above your nose or
any other illusion.

The illusion of persistence of information, f.i. the
'spirit' of a person, without a physical presence, might stem from the
seemingly effortless possibility of reproducing information we possess
in our minds, forgetting the hugely complicated physical biological
underpinning a mind needs to be able to do that.

Might be a nice question for Richard Dawkins :)

kind regards,
felix slager

What do you think?


 

Offline LeeE

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Does information require energy?
« Reply #1 on: 08/03/2009 15:17:02 »
I have always considered information to be immaterial, but it needs energy to do anything with it.

Q: what's the difference between space and information?

A: Information can be profound but space is usually vacuous.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Does information require energy?
« Reply #2 on: 08/03/2009 15:47:29 »
"...the content of the collective unconscious is made up essentially of archetypes" (Jung)
 

Offline Supercryptid

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Does information require energy?
« Reply #3 on: 08/03/2009 17:36:37 »
Hmm, I could imagine a scenario where information is transferred from a lack of energy. Take laser security systems, for example. As long as the receiver detects the energy of the laser beam, nothing happens. When it fails to detect the energy of the beam, it goes off. Of course, energy is still required in this case so that information can be distinguished from non-information.
 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

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Does information require energy?
« Reply #4 on: 08/03/2009 18:17:00 »
But it took energy/matter to get into the way of the laser beam
 

blakestyger

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Does information require energy?
« Reply #5 on: 08/03/2009 19:39:20 »
Doesn't information represent a decrease in entropy - which requires energy?
 

lyner

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Does information require energy?
« Reply #6 on: 08/03/2009 20:49:43 »
It's the transfer of information which requires energy. All receiving systems (ears, eyes, radios, modems) require some energy to be input they also have random 'noise' and interference at their inputs. When a signal is received, carrying information, the information can only be reconstituted if the signal power is enough to overcome the noise power. As the signal power gets less, errors start to get worse and worse.
So, you need energy to transfer information.
« Last Edit: 08/03/2009 22:40:14 by sophiecentaur »
 

Offline fdomestica

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Does information require energy?
« Reply #7 on: 08/03/2009 21:18:34 »
Energy is needed to transfer, code (source and channel code) and to represent information. Which says nothing about 'meaning'
 

Offline LeeE

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Does information require energy?
« Reply #8 on: 09/03/2009 20:25:00 »
Like I said, it needs energy to do anything with information, from transfer and parsing, to inference.
 

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Does information require energy?
« Reply #8 on: 09/03/2009 20:25:00 »

 

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