Matter Energy Information

Yihong-Ding has been reviewing the book Programming the Universe, by Seth Loyd.

His review has two parts, the first is on the quantum computing aspects of the book.

The second part is of great interest, because it introduces a scientific metaphysics, which puts information on a par with matter and energy. Of course, I’m not in position to judge whether this interpretation is valid, but I feel intuitively drawn to it.

The basic thesis is this:

“The central theme of the book is that “all physical systems register and process information.” In the other words, information is “a fundamental physical quantity” in the world as well as several other fundamental physical quantities such as energy and mass.”

And this are its important implications:

“In tradition, we have learned that energy is the driving power of production and mass is both of the sources of production and the consequence of production. In essence, a production process conducted by humans consumes substance in the form of energy to produce substance in the form of mass. Energy is consumed (in fact, the total quantity of energy never reduces while the amount workable energy decreases, i.e., the entropy increases) and mass is produced (the total quantity of mass indeed never grows while the variety of mass increases, i.e., again, the entropy increases). However, information brings a new relationship to production.

In contrast to energy or mass, Seth’s research discovered that information computes by itself. It means that essentially information production could be energy free when its output does not involve mass/energy production. Entropy increase does not necessarily require energy consumption. By this mean, information industry may demand consuming much less energy than we are at present on the stage of mass production industry, if only we may figure out the right way of computation (such as possibly the right process of quantum computation). This derivation could be very significant for the progress of economy into the future.”

There is a lot more in that review, for example on the reconciliation of the age old debate between materialism and idealism, so please do go to the original.

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