[time 357] Re: [time 356] What is Information?

Stephen P. King (stephenk1@home.com)
Thu, 27 May 1999 10:33:27 -0400

Dear Matti,

        Your post makes me smile! :) I have such a hard time trying to
communicate my mental pictures... but every once in a while... ! ;)

Matti Pitkanen wrote:
> On Wed, 26 May 1999, Stephen P. King wrote:
> > Hi All,
> >
> > What is information? Good question! We define it by throwing out what
> > it is not...
> > This article is a good start!
> >
> > http://www.aip.org/physnews/preview/1997/qinfo/sidebar1.htm
> Thank you for stimulating me to think about information concept again.
> I try to collect my older ideas in hope that something new might
> arise spontaneously.
> a) Information as selection
> Basic idea, represented also at the website, is that information
> involves selection. Your decision to send me email about the the URL
> reduced my guesses about the possible addresses of
> URL:s of the web sites containing information about the concept of
> information. The problem is that the definition involves conscious
> selection between alternatives, which in my own conceptual framework
> means quantum jump. It is not clear that this kind of
> definition of information describes absolute information
> contained by the physical state.
        :) That makes sense! Information does seem to involve acts of
selection. I see this as analogous to the "reduction" process used in
the Copenhagen Interpretation. Taking the analogy further with a
Darwinian idea, we might ask: what is mutation? Could it be represented
by the Phi propagator, e.g. the Schroedinger Wave?
        I would like to better understand what "absolute information" means!
The symbols written between the "." "cause" a mental state for me, but
how do I know if it is an absolute? By what standard? The term seems to
imply ("to cause a mental state" !) that all possible observers
(nonenumerable infinity?) would agree that the physical state X implies
the meaning A. Then, by symmetry, I could infer with probability 1 that
if A then X.
        There is something suspicious here! :( The Shannon entropy of such a
physical state would be 0. Since it is a certainty. I would like to see
what the Fisher information aspect of this would be...
        This is why I am so exited by Frieden's work...

> b) Quantum information as information of conscious experience?
> My original interpretation of negentropy gain in quantum jump
> is in accordance with the concept of quantum information.
> The reduction of quantum entanglement is a
> choice and *negentropy gain= entanglement entropy of the
> initial state* would thus be a measure for the information gained in
> conscious experience. Quantum jump would be kind of self-measurement and
> increase the knowledge of subsystem about itself.

        Is there a function type relation between the entanglement entropy and
the number of "particles that are entangled"?
> Rather paradoxically, entanglement entropy would represent
> the potential information gain, and is *indeed a property of the
> initial state*! This was something which I have not realized
> earlier. Information would characterize the relationship between
> subsystem and complement. On the other hand subsystem and complement
> correspond to measured system and measurer, sender and receiver
> of information in some sense. Could one define quantum information as
> quantum entanglement between sender and receiver? Information
> would be identical with alertness/attentiveness!

        I can see that this function increases with the distance from the
observer, as in the case
were more and more particles would have interacted, and thus be
entangled, the further away one observes phenomena occurring. This would
also translate to time!
        The idea is that, given an initial singularity for a given
observer from which all of the particles that that observer could
measure "emerge", the particles would have an entanglement entropy that
depends on the particular relationship R between subject and object or,
as you say, measured system and measurer. The "time" would related to
the "potential information gain" given R. If the particles were in a
distribution that is static there would be no time since there would be
no "motion", e.g. no change in entropy given the window of observation
or "attentiveness".

> In quantum jump this information would be transformed to conscious
> information and disappear.

        This would translate, for me, to the zero time situation above and
could be considered as the measure of a "moment of consciousness".
> On the other hand, it is very natural to interpret the reduction of
> entanglement entropy as a measure for the 'catchiness' of the conscious
> experience. But is 'catchiness' equivalent
> with information content? Does a catchy commercial really contain
> *information*? I would rather say that commercial just catches my
> attention? But perhaps these commercials have some deeper meaning which
> I have not grasped(;-)!

        This is an idea similar to something that I have been thinking about.
:) I call "catchyness" "resonance" in the sense that the more catchy a
set of information is the more resonant it is with my thinking. This
does, of course, make it a subjective quantity... Umm, I should
elaborate more... "more resonant it is with my thinking" means that I
can relate the set of information (and its order is important!) to a
larger number of "situations" than another set of information. I think
that Peter's "expressiveness" captures this idea. Have you ever heard of
"memes"? http://www.ed.cqu.edu.au/~bigumc/Meme/meme_definition.html,
> c) Sensory perception as a quantum measurement?
> The interpretation of quantum jump as quantum measurement
> suggests that the information content of conscious
> experience is represented by the values of quantum numbers
> for the selected state. Information gain would correspond to the
> reduction of ignorance about quantum numbers.

        Is this "reduction of ignorance" balance by a consumption of free
energy? The Maxwell Demon stuff comes to mind...
> I have proposed a rather speculative model of color vision
> inspired by a model of quantum model of honeybee dance
> and by the identification of information as quantum numbers.

        I recommend our friend Robert Fung's essay on color at:
> i) The original motivation for the term 'color group' was that
> the Lie-algebra of the 'color group' SU(3) codes the algebra of
> color vision. Various values of color quantum numbers (isospin and
> hypercharge) would correspond to different colors (all colors can be
> formed by mixing two basic colours in suitable proportions) and the
> intensity of color would correspond to color Casimir operator, which is
> counterpart of angular momentum squared. Black is obtained, when
> Casimir goes to zero (no color rotation).

        Could you elaborate on this "Casimir operator"?

> Of course, in QCD framework no one in his right mind would go to
> suggest that QCD color could have anything to do with color vision but
> in TGD situation is different!

> ii) In TGD macroscopic objects correspond to spacetime sheets,
> which behave like rigid bodies in CP_2 degrees of freedom
> and can color rotate and color rotation gives them
> color quantum numbers. Rods and cones (both) in retina could be in
> various color rotating states and the distribution of these states would
> be determined by the incoming light.

        So would we say that the particular "experienced" colors are selected
by the "incoming light" or by a selective "game" played by the rods and
cones against the spectra of the incoming light? See Frieden's
discussion of "EPI as a game of knowledge acquisition" pg. 79-82, 275 of
his book.
> iii) Classical gauge electromagnetic fields are accompanied by
> classical color fields and visual perception is known to generate
> electric field in retina. Therefore observed color experience
> would be the collective experience resulting from the simultaneous
> measurement of color rotational states of rods and cones.
> This picture seems to encourage the identification of information
> content of sensory experience as measured quantum numbers (but perhaps
> this is wishful thinking on my side(;-)).

        I see no conflicts so far. ;) But, again, such :identifications" are
intrinsic to particular finite "relationships between subsystem and
complement" and are thus not "absolute". I think this due to the very
nature of "knowability", e.g. it is not possible to "know" an infinite
amount of information...
> d) Passive quantum jumps and sensory experiene
> The counter argument against sensory perception as a choice
> is that the experience of red does not involve a conscious
> choice (unless the direction of attention to the object of
> perception is this choice). Also the objectivity of sensory
> experience seems to require that physical state does not change
> in the sensory perception. Sensory perception would be like
> classical measurements giving classical information.

        Well, the observer must not be blind to red to start with! :) So the
fact that the observer has to have the ability to recognize red, or to
put this is more physics terms, the apparatus must be able to have a
physical change occur due to the impact of the frequency the corresponds
to "red". Umm, this to me connects to my earlier thought of resonance...
> This led to the hypothesis that also quantum jumps in which the state of
> subsystem changes only by a phase factor, are possible. Physical
> state does not change in these quantum jumps and
> strong form of Negentropy Maximization Principle allows these quantum
> jumps for the unentangled subsystem resulting
> in quantum jump. Thus state function reduction would
> be followed by a sequence of passive quantum jumps giving
> rise to the sensory experience of say red. In previous
> example passive seing would correspond to situation in which
> rods and cones remain in their color rotational eigenstates
> during some number of subsequent quantum jumps.

        Umm, this "sequence of passive quantum jumps", what determines the
number? This is "persistence"?
> e) Classical information
> I find the concept of classical information (information
> that can be copied) somewhat problematic from the point of view of
> quantum theory. In TGD framework classical nondeterminism of
> Kaehler action leads to a model of cognition based
> on cognitive spacetime sheets glued on material spacetime
> sheets and providing simulations of the material spacetime sheet.

        Two points: 1) How can we think of copying information in a
multi-observer quantum world? 2) what are the key differences and
similarities between "cognitive spacetime sheets" and "material
spacetime sheets". They look to me to be examples of Pratt's Mind and
Body as described in http://boole.stanford.edu/chuguide.html#ratmech
!!!!!! :) with the caveat that they have "reverse" dynamics...
> As I mentioned in earlier posting the number
> of cognitive spacetime sheets glued to given region
> of material spacetime sheets would give a possible upper for
> classical information. I = log(N*M), where N is the number of
> cognitive spacetime sheets and M is the the number of different
> states of single cognitive spacetime sheet.

        Interesting, I am starting to understand what you mean by this pair of
spacetime sheets. What mathematical relation exists between them? If
they are Stone-Birkhoff dual then Pratt's ideas apply!
> But again I find that I might have more natural interpretation
> as kind of intelligence quotient. Can one identify intelligence as
> information content?

        Umm, perhaps intelligence is a measure of the range of different
meaningful questions that can be asked... or the number of different
simulations that can be performed given the observer's knowledge, this
would correspond to your suggestion...



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