On 7/23/2010 3:03 PM, Brent Meeker wrote:
I'd say the information comes from the surface of Mars - it is integrated (which means summed into a whole) by the Rover and acted upon. Tononi seems to be abusing language and using "integrated" when he actually means "generated". Whether there is information generated would depend on how you defined it and where you draw the boundaries of the system. Shannon information is a measure of the reduction in uncertainity - so if you were uncertain about what the Mars Rover would do, then you could say it's action generated information. But if you knew every detail of it's programming and memory and the surface scene it viewed you might say it didn't generate any information.


     Thanks for replying.

I hope my comments to Jason explain my difference in perspective here. I don't think the information is "integrated" in the way Tononi uses the term. I don't view this system as being "connected in such a way that information is generated by causal interactions /among/ rather than /within/ its parts." (Balduzzi D, Tononi G 2009) I think the physical structures of the computers involved in this example exclude the generation of additional information via re-entrant feedback between any of the components (I don't know the proper terms to use here). There's no component saying to its neighbour "I see you're not 'firing', which means possibilities p & q must be excluded", everyone just goes about their business independently. Isn't that how it works at the fine scale, where everything is binary? Nobody checks which of their neighbours are 0's and which are 1's?

I hope some of this is sensible. I've only ever read about these things, this is the first time trying to explain any of them, and the holes in my understanding have never been so blatantly obvious.


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