dimarts, 3 de maig de 2011

The universe is only information

Kelly: According to your book, information underpins everything.

James Gleick: Modern physics has begun to think of the bit—this binary choice—as the ultimate fundamental particle. John Wheeler summarized the idea as “it-from-bit.” By that he meant that the basis of the physical universe—the “it” of an atom or subatomic particle—is not matter, nor energy, but a bit of information.

Kelly: That sounds almost spiritual—that the material world is really immaterial.

Gleick: I know it sounds magical, but it needs to be understood properly. Information has a material basis. It has to be carried by something.

Kelly: The extreme view would be that all these bits that make up atoms are running on a very big computer called the universe, an idea first espoused by Babbage.

Gleick: That makes sense as long as this metaphor does not diminish our sense of what the universe is but expands our sense of what a computer is.

Kelly: But as you note, some scientists say that this is not a metaphor: The universe we know is only information.

Gleick: I’m not a physicist, but that concept resonates with something that we all recognize: Information is the thing that we care most about. The more we understand the role that information plays in our world, the more skillful citizens we will be.

Kevin Kelly, Wired. Why the basis of the Universe isn't matter or energy - it's data.