Re: Article with quotes from David: 'God is the Machine'

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• ... I don t think I_{1,2} can be = I_1 + I_2, so I_{1+2} cannot be zero as far as I understand it. (Look at the two limiting cases where the processes are
Message 1 of 11 , Dec 31, 2002
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Russell Standish wrote:
> Information is never negative. However, information is not additive -
> ie if there are two systems with information contents I_1 and I_2, the
> combined information I_{1+2} differs in general from
> I_1+I_2. Therefore it is possible to have I_{1+2}=0 with I_1>0 and
> I_2>0.
>
> (From memory the information formula can be expressed as sopmething
> like:
>
> I_{1+2} = I_1 + I_2 - I_{1,2}
>
> where the last term is joint information)

I don't think I_{1,2} can be >= I_1 + I_2, so I_{1+2} cannot be zero as
far as I understand it. (Look at the two limiting cases where the
processes are independent or fully correlated.) In fact I don't think
I_{1+2} can be < either I_1 or I_2. But I could easily be wrong; I'm
not an expert on this stuff.

-- Gary
• ... No. That s just an artefact of a definition. A play with mathematical concepts. Certainly a reality containing nothing is a different one from one
Message 2 of 11 , Dec 31, 2002
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>Well, if the universe contained nothing but two 'apples' of the same size
>and mass - yet one apple was made of matter and the other, identical apple
>made of anti-matter, then you would have two apples. But the 'net' result is
>that the universe actually contains no matter (or antimatter) -no?

No. That's just an artefact of a definition. A play with mathematical
concepts. Certainly a reality containing nothing is a different one from
one containing an apple plus an anti-apple. For information it makes even
less sense to talk about negative information.

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• In a message dated 12/30/2002 6:53:19 PM GMT Standard Time, ... Depends if you consider photons to be matter, I suppose. ... I *think* the idea is that all
Message 3 of 11 , Jan 3, 2003
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In a message dated 12/30/2002 6:53:19 PM GMT Standard Time,
brhall@... writes:

> Well, if the universe contained nothing but two 'apples' of the same size
> and mass - yet one apple was made of matter and the other, identical apple
> made of anti-matter, then you would have two apples. But the 'net' result
> is
> that the universe actually contains no matter (or antimatter) -no?
>

Depends if you consider photons to be matter, I suppose.

> I'm still yet to fully understand the notion that the multiverse contains
> zero net information, so these analogies are groping in the dark, I know.
> Who is it who argues for this theory, and for what purpose? I seem to
> recall
> some posts which allude to the idea.

I *think* the idea is that "all possible information" is like white noise -
you can't actually get any information out of it unless you know that it
contains a message, and what the compression code is, and so on ("any
sufficiently advanced communications look like white noise" - Clarke's Nth
law?) Or something like that. A bit like this email perhaps....

If you could put together all possible information - say every possible book
(e.g. in "The Library of Babel") then *somewhere* you have every book that
will ever be written (in any universe) or ever COULD be written. If you put
together every physically possible universe then you have the multiverse.
Does the thing as a whole contain any information? I don't know, but I don't
see how it's meaningful to say that it does because there's no way to extract
the information, or do anything with it.