What is information?
What we usually call information, is essentially "the special ordered state of things," so it can be seen as a form of dynamic order. We can use one finger to represent "1", and two fingers to represent "2." In this process, our fingers do not change essentially, but in different states, they can represent different information. In computer systems, information is also computed, stored, and transmitted by changing the internal state of each system, but their efficiency is much higher than that of ordinary organisms.
The processing and computation of information, is to get new ordered states, that is, new information, by transforming the ordered states of certain things. The storage of information, is to make certain things form specific ordered states. The transmission of information, is the process in which these special ordered states flow through different things, and cause changes in the states of these things.
Note that this definition uses "things", rather than "information storage" or similar concepts, because these states of things become information only when processed by intelligent creatures or information systems. For example, when sunlight spread to the earth, even if an insect receives sunlight, its nervous system will not produce information of the "sunlight." But when humans see this phenomenon, they can extract "sunlight" information from visual information. The specific states of all the environments and things in the world, before intelligent creatures give them some meaning, are merely states, and there is no such thing as "information."
The concept of "information" in science has clear definitions, and can be accurately quantified, which is different from what people commonly refer to as "information."
Information is completely based on material. For example, the information generated during human thinking is actually the specific state of human neural network. The so-called information world is only a series of ordered states of a part of the material world (such as information storages), and the spiritual world is a series of ordered states of the brain.
The value of information is reflected in the extent to which it promotes the emergence of dynamic order. Therefore, valuable information usually has a great influence on other things or information. For example, various scientific laws are the core information of human society, and affect most social activities, so they are the most valuable information.
For individuals, high-value information should make us more intelligent, and unfamiliar domain knowledge and ideas are usually more valuable. We should take the initiative to acquire high-value information and knowledge, especially those that can correct or improve our existing ideas, or inspire us to generate new ideas. In the future, intelligent assistant can help us explore more useful information, but we still need our own willingness to acquire high-value information.
Most of the information is highly dynamic, so it is easily distorted. Almost all individuals and organizations may distort information for their own benefit, such as false advertisements, distorted news reports, hackers' tampering with data, academic fraud, government's control of the media and tampering with history. This makes human society full of false and wrong information.
The false and wrong information not only damages our intelligence, but also undermines people's trust and cooperation, so this is one of the core issues of human society. To reverse this situation, everyone should try not to lie, and do not distort or tamper with information.
In addition, people should learn and think extensively. Only by k'no'wing more information and knowledge, can we have sufficient judge ability to distinguish false and wrong information.
For individuals, we should try to express ourselves sincerely without impairing personal interests and privacy.
The spreading scope of information should be broadly consistent with its scope of influence.
Information is the most important form of dynamic order, the key to maintaining the basic order of society, and the basis for generating intelligence. Therefore, information should be spread widely enough to cover its scope of influence. For the organization, its internal information should be open and transparent internally, because its information affects people in the organization. Information about the organization that will affect the outside world should also be disclosed to relevant parties. The information openness of organizations not only integrates these information into the dynamic order of the whole society, but also exposes the problems in the organization as early as possible, which is beneficial to the health of the organization. For instance, the information openness of the government will help reduce corruption and waste.
On the other hand, information is infinite, and the information processing capabilities of intelligent organisms and information processing equipment is limited. In addition, unnecessary information diffusion will not bring more dynamic order, and will interfere with the normal production of dynamic order. For example, when we are thinking, if someone is talking next to us, our thinking will be disturbed; if personal privacy or internal organization information is leaked, their interests may be impaired. Therefore, the spreading scope of information is not simply the wider the better. Personal information unrelated to the outside world does not need to be spread to the outside world, so we should protect personal privacy.
Like many other issues, the best scope of information dissemination is difficult to determine, these issues should be solved on a case by case basis, eventually reaching certain balance. For example, excessive protection of personal privacy will be detrimental to social collaboration and trust formation, providing private information will enable us to get better social services, such as recommendations for goods and entertainment, and health services. Therefore, we need to strike a balance between privacy and the opening of private information.
The state of all things in the universe is endless, so intelligent creatures must generalize and summarize the state of the universe and various things, compress these states into manageable information, and then process them. This compression process will inevitably lead to the loss of information, and affect the accuracy of the information.
Taking language as an example, we name various things and phenomena, it is mainly to compress information for the brain to process, and to standardize information for communication. The fewer the description information, the more complex the described things and phenomena, then the more information is compressed and the less accurate.
For super-complex systems such as human society, as well as various widely existing social phenomena, it is impossible to be truly accurate by describing them in a certain word or phrase, because information is overcompressed. This is also a core difficulty of value system. For example, for rich meaning words such as "freedom," "equity," and "love," everyone will draw their own definition by observing the world from their own perspective, and it is difficult to accurately describe these concepts in human's existing languages.
Therefore, unlike academic research, Dorderism does not excessively pursue the accuracy of words or phrases in the discussion. In the process of understanding Dorderism, we should not be entangled in the nuances of words, and don't forget that our purpose is to get true wisdom.
The same is true for media content. Text, picture, video and so on are all information, when interpreting and describing complex things, they also have the problem of information loss. However, as the media content has much more information than words or phrases, the problem is not so serious.
Humans mainly rely on visual information to understand the world, and the amount of information in visual content is usually much lager than that in text. Therefore, we should try to think visually, so as to alleviate the problem of information loss.
The efficiency of information transmission has greatly influenced the development of human society. Understanding the limits of information transmission efficiency can help us understand the future more clearly.
From the perspective of connection mode, the ultimate form of human information exchange is to connect the brain directly through the brain-computer interface.
From the perspective of speed, the limit of information transmission speed is the speed of light, and this limit has a great impact on our future.
For example, in order to create more extensive dynamic order, humans should carry out interstellar migration in the future. However, as long as the speed of information transmission cannot exceed the speed of light, the communication efficiency between planets is extremely low. Even between adjacent planets such as Earth and Mars, the information transmission time is 3 minutes to 22 minutes (the specific time depends on the orbital position of the two planets), not to mention the distance between the stars calculated in light years. Therefore, the human social development level of a certain planetary system (such as the solar system) is mainly based on its own conditions, and has little relationship with the human society of other planetary systems. The human society mentioned in this book is limited to a certain planetary system(the solar system) or planet(the earth), regardless of the influence of other human society in the universe.
On earth, the ground distance between the two points farthest away is about 20,000 kilometers, and it takes more than 60 milliseconds to transmit information at the speed of light. Even if information can be transmitted through the earth's core, the distance between the two points farthest away also exceeds 12,000 kilometers, and it takes about 40 milliseconds to transmit information at the speed of light. Moreover, some humans and AI may live in space or other planets in the future, and in this case, information transmission time may be slow to minute level or even hour level.
Is there any possibility that this "Light Speed Limit" will be dramatically broken through in the future? At present, it seems impossible in our universe. Otherwise, as long as there has been only one kind of expansive top-level intelligent creatures, the universe will be completely occupied by them. Now the universe has formed over 13 billion years, the time that human beings appear in the universe is not too early, but we have not seen any intelligent forerunners. Therefore, in our universe, the speed of information transmission must be limited.