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**Lorraine Ford**: *on* 7/25/21 at 23:02pm UTC, wrote When you symbolically represent information, you are representing the...

**Lorraine Ford**: *on* 7/22/21 at 0:23am UTC, wrote I might add that: Clearly, most people are not aware that the symbolic...

**Lorraine Ford**: *on* 7/21/21 at 23:50pm UTC, wrote 2. More generally, NO system can exist without the system being able to...

**Lorraine Ford**: *on* 7/21/21 at 23:48pm UTC, wrote Re : The absurd and illogical idea that a differentiated system that...

**Lorraine Ford**: *on* 7/18/21 at 1:11am UTC, wrote ADMIN EDIT: This thread has been closed as off topic.

**Lorraine Ford**: *on* 7/12/21 at 23:17pm UTC, wrote (continued) Of course, Maxwell’s demon is a thought experiment; there is...

**Lorraine Ford**: *on* 7/11/21 at 0:26am UTC, wrote (continued) To put it another way, I’m saying that Maxwell’s demon’s...

**Lorraine Ford**: *on* 7/7/21 at 0:22am UTC, wrote But what is information? The candidates that physics has available are:...

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July 26, 2021

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TOPIC: Interview: Information Fueled Engines -- with John Bechhoefer by John Bechhoefer [refresh]

TOPIC: Interview: Information Fueled Engines -- with John Bechhoefer by John Bechhoefer [refresh]

Information as Fuel awardee John Bechhoefer joins "BIV Today" to discuss the prospect of developing microscopic engines. Research published this week delves into how this can be accomplished. Tyler Orton hosts.

**Keywords:** #IAF

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I think Information response engine would be a more accurate description than information fueled engine.

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But what is information?

The candidates that physics has available are: matter (particles, atoms, molecules, living things); law of nature relationships with their associated categories (representable as equations and variables); and numbers (representable as number symbols).

Obviously, I wouldn’t include the truly stupid idea that binary digit numbers could be information: numbers don’t have a category; to acquire a category, numbers must be equated to a category. And obviously, I wouldn’t include the truly stupid idea that the “binary digits” in a computer could be information: in a computer people have used voltages, transistors and circuits to REPRESENT the binary digit concept; this setup can then be used to REPRESENT Boolean and algorithmic symbols, equations, variables and numbers (and words and sentences etc.).

The only remaining candidate for information is the aspect of the world that absolutely REQUIRES Boolean and algorithmic symbols in order to represent it (as well as equations, variables and number symbols). And please note: you CAN’T derive something representable by Boolean-algorithmic symbols from something representable by equations, variables and number symbols. In other words, Boolean and algorithmic symbols represent NEW physics. i.e. a fundamental aspect of the world not yet covered by physics.

To represent information, you need to use the Boolean-algorithmic symbolic format e.g.: “(variable1= number1 AND variable2= number2) IS TRUE”. Note that information is always about particular situations.

And to make John Bechhoefer’s “decisions” in response to a situation, you also need to use the Boolean-algorithmic symbolic format e.g.: “IF (variable1= number1 AND variable2= number2) IS TRUE, THEN …”.

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The candidates that physics has available are: matter (particles, atoms, molecules, living things); law of nature relationships with their associated categories (representable as equations and variables); and numbers (representable as number symbols).

Obviously, I wouldn’t include the truly stupid idea that binary digit numbers could be information: numbers don’t have a category; to acquire a category, numbers must be equated to a category. And obviously, I wouldn’t include the truly stupid idea that the “binary digits” in a computer could be information: in a computer people have used voltages, transistors and circuits to REPRESENT the binary digit concept; this setup can then be used to REPRESENT Boolean and algorithmic symbols, equations, variables and numbers (and words and sentences etc.).

The only remaining candidate for information is the aspect of the world that absolutely REQUIRES Boolean and algorithmic symbols in order to represent it (as well as equations, variables and number symbols). And please note: you CAN’T derive something representable by Boolean-algorithmic symbols from something representable by equations, variables and number symbols. In other words, Boolean and algorithmic symbols represent NEW physics. i.e. a fundamental aspect of the world not yet covered by physics.

To represent information, you need to use the Boolean-algorithmic symbolic format e.g.: “(variable1= number1 AND variable2= number2) IS TRUE”. Note that information is always about particular situations.

And to make John Bechhoefer’s “decisions” in response to a situation, you also need to use the Boolean-algorithmic symbolic format e.g.: “IF (variable1= number1 AND variable2= number2) IS TRUE, THEN …”.

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(continued)

To put it another way, I’m saying that Maxwell’s demon’s subjective point of view is the ACTUAL information.

A simplified version of Maxwell’s demon’s subjective point of view can be represented in the following type of way:

“(variable1>number1 AND variable1< number2) AND variable3>number3 IS TRUE”. (I.e. the extrapolated trajectory of the molecule would pass through the opened door (represented by number1 and number2), and the speed is greater than number3.)

But Maxwell’s demon’s subjective point of view is NOT part of physics. Instead, poor old physics is stuck in the mud trying to say that information is the uncertainty, from the point of view of a macro-observer, that Maxwell’s micro-demon would have this subjective point of view (and then respond by opening the door).

Do you see the stupidity of physics? According to physics, the following doesn’t exist:

“(variable1>number1 AND variable1< number2) AND variable3>number3 IS TRUE”.

According to physics, there is only the uncertainty that the following might exist:

“(variable1>number1 AND variable1< number2) AND variable3>number3 IS TRUE”.

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To put it another way, I’m saying that Maxwell’s demon’s subjective point of view is the ACTUAL information.

A simplified version of Maxwell’s demon’s subjective point of view can be represented in the following type of way:

“(variable1>number1 AND variable1< number2) AND variable3>number3 IS TRUE”. (I.e. the extrapolated trajectory of the molecule would pass through the opened door (represented by number1 and number2), and the speed is greater than number3.)

But Maxwell’s demon’s subjective point of view is NOT part of physics. Instead, poor old physics is stuck in the mud trying to say that information is the uncertainty, from the point of view of a macro-observer, that Maxwell’s micro-demon would have this subjective point of view (and then respond by opening the door).

Do you see the stupidity of physics? According to physics, the following doesn’t exist:

“(variable1>number1 AND variable1< number2) AND variable3>number3 IS TRUE”.

According to physics, there is only the uncertainty that the following might exist:

“(variable1>number1 AND variable1< number2) AND variable3>number3 IS TRUE”.

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(continued)

Of course, Maxwell’s demon is a thought experiment; there is no such thing as Maxwell’s demon, or a tiny conscious entity that performs for someone else’s benefit.

But the issue is: how do you represent information, and what possesses that information? Clearly, information is about situation, the particular situation that particular matter finds itself in. Situation (and any response to situation) can only be represented Boolean-algorithmically. And without pre-existing integrated information about the local situation (integrated information requires a logical “AND” in order to represent it), and the pre-existing ability to respond to this integrated information about the local situation, life can never emerge.

But, apart from particle interactions, physics only has its equations, variables and numbers. Physics seems to believe that equations can explain everything.

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Of course, Maxwell’s demon is a thought experiment; there is no such thing as Maxwell’s demon, or a tiny conscious entity that performs for someone else’s benefit.

But the issue is: how do you represent information, and what possesses that information? Clearly, information is about situation, the particular situation that particular matter finds itself in. Situation (and any response to situation) can only be represented Boolean-algorithmically. And without pre-existing integrated information about the local situation (integrated information requires a logical “AND” in order to represent it), and the pre-existing ability to respond to this integrated information about the local situation, life can never emerge.

But, apart from particle interactions, physics only has its equations, variables and numbers. Physics seems to believe that equations can explain everything.

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ADMIN EDIT: This thread has been closed as off topic.

this post has been edited by the forum administrator

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post approved

Re : The absurd and illogical idea that a differentiated system that can’t differentiate itself (discern difference in its own equations, variables and numbers) could exist at the foundations of the world:

1. Clearly, the idea that a non-conscious (i.e. can’t differentiate itself) mathematical system could exist at the foundations of the world is absurd. No matter whether it is a system consisting of equations, sets, or numbers, you name it, if the system: a) can’t differentiate itself; and b) can’t move itself, it can’t exist.

You need Boolean and algorithmic symbols to REPRESENT this differentiation and movement in the system. However, these Boolean-algorithmic symbols are not themselves a mathematical system: they merely REPRESENT the necessary aspects of the system that differentiate and move the system.

In other words, there are at least 3 parts to a system: a) the mathematical relationships between categories; b) the aspect of the system that differentiates the categories/ relationships and numbers; and c) the aspect of the system that moves/ changes the numbers.

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1. Clearly, the idea that a non-conscious (i.e. can’t differentiate itself) mathematical system could exist at the foundations of the world is absurd. No matter whether it is a system consisting of equations, sets, or numbers, you name it, if the system: a) can’t differentiate itself; and b) can’t move itself, it can’t exist.

You need Boolean and algorithmic symbols to REPRESENT this differentiation and movement in the system. However, these Boolean-algorithmic symbols are not themselves a mathematical system: they merely REPRESENT the necessary aspects of the system that differentiate and move the system.

In other words, there are at least 3 parts to a system: a) the mathematical relationships between categories; b) the aspect of the system that differentiates the categories/ relationships and numbers; and c) the aspect of the system that moves/ changes the numbers.

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2. More generally, NO system can exist without the system being able to differentiate and move itself. Take the weather, or a computer system: clearly, the actual differentiation and movement in these systems occurs at a low component level i.e. at the level of the system’s particles, atoms and molecules. But for a cell or a living thing, the actual differentiation and movement in these systems is more at the level of the whole thing.

People affect the climate because their actions have an effect on the low-level components of the weather system, but people are not up there controlling the weather. But with computer systems, people have utilised their knowledge of the low-level components of the system (the voltages, transistors and circuits) to deliberately build a useful tool.

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People affect the climate because their actions have an effect on the low-level components of the weather system, but people are not up there controlling the weather. But with computer systems, people have utilised their knowledge of the low-level components of the system (the voltages, transistors and circuits) to deliberately build a useful tool.

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I might add that:

Clearly, most people are not aware that the symbolic equations, that they see or write on a page, do not represent something that is independent of people. It’s people that make equations succeed as a form of symbolic representation. People invented symbols in order to represent concepts, categories, relationships and logic; people perceive and differentiate the symbols; and people move and change the symbols.

There are 2 issues here:

1) Symbols can NEVER be independent of people who create, perceive and manipulate them;

2) Nevertheless, can symbols be used to represent a system that is independent of people?

The task of physics is to represent a system that is independent of people. However, to make symbolic equations appear to represent a moving system that is independent of people, a physicist must intervene by: 1) differentiating and analysing the symbols on the page; and 2) moving and changing the numbers and symbols on the page. In short: to make symbolic equations appear to represent a system that is independent of people, a physicist differentiates, and a physicist moves.

So equations can never represent a system that is independent of people, unless you add symbols that represent the system differentiating and symbols that represent the system moving the numbers: i.e. you need to add Boolean and algorithmic symbols like: IF, AND, OR, TRUE, THEN, ELSE. [Despite the delta symbols, the equations that represent the laws of nature do not represent number movement - the equations merely represent category relationship.]

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Clearly, most people are not aware that the symbolic equations, that they see or write on a page, do not represent something that is independent of people. It’s people that make equations succeed as a form of symbolic representation. People invented symbols in order to represent concepts, categories, relationships and logic; people perceive and differentiate the symbols; and people move and change the symbols.

There are 2 issues here:

1) Symbols can NEVER be independent of people who create, perceive and manipulate them;

2) Nevertheless, can symbols be used to represent a system that is independent of people?

The task of physics is to represent a system that is independent of people. However, to make symbolic equations appear to represent a moving system that is independent of people, a physicist must intervene by: 1) differentiating and analysing the symbols on the page; and 2) moving and changing the numbers and symbols on the page. In short: to make symbolic equations appear to represent a system that is independent of people, a physicist differentiates, and a physicist moves.

So equations can never represent a system that is independent of people, unless you add symbols that represent the system differentiating and symbols that represent the system moving the numbers: i.e. you need to add Boolean and algorithmic symbols like: IF, AND, OR, TRUE, THEN, ELSE. [Despite the delta symbols, the equations that represent the laws of nature do not represent number movement - the equations merely represent category relationship.]

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When you symbolically represent information, you are representing the specific, true, number situation that applies to the variables relevant to specific matter.

But to have a rational non-magical view of the physics of the world, you need to have a rational non-magical view of numbers. Not that physics actually has a view about numbers, even though numbers are crucially important to the physics of the world. But these real-world numbers can’t be the exotic and/or Platonic and/or countable entities and/or strings of dots so beloved by mathematicians and others.

So what are real world numbers?

1. Real world numbers can only be (or be derived via relationship from) relationships, just like the laws of nature are relationships; but numbers can only be relationships where the numerator and denominator categories cancel out. This does not imply that mathematical calculations are occurring: numbers are nothing but relationships, NOT finished products.

2. Real world numbers that apply to variables can’t be entities that magically morph, or smoothly change, into other numbers. Real world numbers can only be things that are specifically ASSIGNED to variables, whereby the numbers that apply to other variables are changed because of lawful law of nature relationship.

3. Point 2. above does not refer to a domino effect or a perpetual motion machine. Real world numbers must be continually applied to at least some variables, in order for the system to move forward.

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But to have a rational non-magical view of the physics of the world, you need to have a rational non-magical view of numbers. Not that physics actually has a view about numbers, even though numbers are crucially important to the physics of the world. But these real-world numbers can’t be the exotic and/or Platonic and/or countable entities and/or strings of dots so beloved by mathematicians and others.

So what are real world numbers?

1. Real world numbers can only be (or be derived via relationship from) relationships, just like the laws of nature are relationships; but numbers can only be relationships where the numerator and denominator categories cancel out. This does not imply that mathematical calculations are occurring: numbers are nothing but relationships, NOT finished products.

2. Real world numbers that apply to variables can’t be entities that magically morph, or smoothly change, into other numbers. Real world numbers can only be things that are specifically ASSIGNED to variables, whereby the numbers that apply to other variables are changed because of lawful law of nature relationship.

3. Point 2. above does not refer to a domino effect or a perpetual motion machine. Real world numbers must be continually applied to at least some variables, in order for the system to move forward.

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