If we consider our observable universe as a computation, it's rather 
atypical in that it doesn't seem to make use of the erase operation (or 
other any operation that irreversibly erases information). The second law of 
thermodynamics is a consequence of this. In order to forget anything 
(decrease entropy), we have to put the information somewhere else (increase 
entropy of the environment), instead of just making it disappear. If this 
doesn't make sense to you, see Seth Lloyd's new book "Programming the 
Universe : A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes On the Cosmos" for a good 
explanation of the relationship between entropy, computation, and 

Has anyone thought about why this is the case? One possible answer is that 
if it were possible to erase information, life organisms would be able to 
construct internal perpetual motion machines to power their metabolism, 
instead of competing with each other for sources of negentropy, and perhaps 
intelligence would not be able to evolve in this kind of environment. If 
this is the case, perhaps there is reason to hope that our universe does 
contain mechanisms to erase information, but they are not easily accessible 
to life before the evolution of intelligence. It may be a good idea to look 
out for such mechanisms, for example in high energy particle reactions.

However I'm not sure this answer is correct because there would still be 
competition for raw material (matter and energy) where intelligence can 
still be an advantage. Anyone have other ideas?

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