Lee Corbin wrote:
If I say something to you in Sanskrit you will likely not understand it. It will carry zero information. However If I say it in English you will be much more likely to understand it.George writesIs the world fundamentally physical or can it be reduced to ideas? This is an interesting issue. If a TOE exists then it would have to explain the physics and the objects.This reminds me of the Ether controversy. Is there a need for the Ether for waves to propagate? The most up-to-date answer is that waves carry their own "physical substrate." They can be waves and/or particles. Similarly there should be equivalence between information and matter/energy. Thus a process or algorithm should have inherently within itself its own physical substrate.Well, that sounds good to me, but what do I know.Since information is observer-dependent (Shannon) this issue brings us back to the observer. I think that eventually all observables will have to be traced back to the observer who is in fact at the nexus of the mind-body problem.But why can't photographic apparatuses, or amoeba, count as observers? (They don't have minds, right, or, uh, do they?) I really confess to not understanding the claim that information is observer dependent; if a region contained one of thirty-two possible binary bit strings of length 5, it seems to me that it would contain five bits, even if no light from it ever reached other parts of the universe. Lee
If I say to you that your name is Lee Corbin, it will not add any information to what you already know. Again, it will carry zero information.
This is what Shannon calls Mutual Information. In the first case *you* don't have the decoder to translate Sanskrit to English. In the second case you have the decoder but for *you*, the information is not new: you already know that your name is Lee Corbin. Old information is no information at all.
Received mutual information is dependent on the information that already exists in the mind of the receiver (or observer). In this sense Shannon's information theory is a relativity theory of information just like Galileo's dynamics and Einstein's relativity are relativity theories of physics and just like Everett's interpretation is a relativity theory of quantum events.
This is the reason I believe that the observer is at the nexus of the mind-body problem and that eventually we'll find that the "mind" and the "body" are two aspects of the same thing. Bruno seems to be in the right track in developing a calculus of the soul (or consciousness).
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