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Information loss over time

Indophile
Posts: 1,414
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9/23/2011 10:12:46 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
We all know that everything dissipates over time. Sound attenuates, light becomes dim, disorder increases, etc.

My question is, does information have the same fate?

Somebody observes something and tells somebody who tells somebody else, etc. The information that is passed is definitely corrupted.

If somebody observes something and writes it in a book and the book gets passed around and preserved, does that information not get corrupted?

If somebody observes something and makes a video recording of it, and this recording gets passed around and preserved, does that information not get corrupted?

In the latter 2 cases, the information stays the same, but our understanding of it has to come by someone telling us what it means, and this could be the cause of information loss.

So, does it make any sense to hold on to information that is not repeatable and think it stays the same no matter how much time passes?
You will say that I don't really know you
And it will be true.
Wnope
Posts: 6,924
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9/23/2011 10:30:36 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/23/2011 10:12:46 PM, Indophile wrote:
We all know that everything dissipates over time. Sound attenuates, light becomes dim, disorder increases, etc.

My question is, does information have the same fate?

Somebody observes something and tells somebody who tells somebody else, etc. The information that is passed is definitely corrupted.

If somebody observes something and writes it in a book and the book gets passed around and preserved, does that information not get corrupted?

If somebody observes something and makes a video recording of it, and this recording gets passed around and preserved, does that information not get corrupted?

In the latter 2 cases, the information stays the same, but our understanding of it has to come by someone telling us what it means, and this could be the cause of information loss.

So, does it make any sense to hold on to information that is not repeatable and think it stays the same no matter how much time passes?

By information do you mean Shannon's Information Theory (http://en.wikipedia.org...)? You seem to be referring to information entropy.
Indophile
Posts: 1,414
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9/23/2011 10:42:19 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/23/2011 10:30:36 PM, Wnope wrote:
At 9/23/2011 10:12:46 PM, Indophile wrote:
We all know that everything dissipates over time. Sound attenuates, light becomes dim, disorder increases, etc.

My question is, does information have the same fate?

Somebody observes something and tells somebody who tells somebody else, etc. The information that is passed is definitely corrupted.

If somebody observes something and writes it in a book and the book gets passed around and preserved, does that information not get corrupted?

If somebody observes something and makes a video recording of it, and this recording gets passed around and preserved, does that information not get corrupted?

In the latter 2 cases, the information stays the same, but our understanding of it has to come by someone telling us what it means, and this could be the cause of information loss.

So, does it make any sense to hold on to information that is not repeatable and think it stays the same no matter how much time passes?

By information do you mean Shannon's Information Theory (http://en.wikipedia.org...)? You seem to be referring to information entropy.

Yes, it would be the compression of information. The whole of history is information of some sort.

So, at what point can we say that this information is not longer correct and has been corrupted?
You will say that I don't really know you
And it will be true.
Lasagna
Posts: 2,440
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9/24/2011 9:34:47 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
Digitization, in theory, halts loss of information. However I suppose it's the interpretation of that digital code that would start to degrade. Can a human 5 million years from now properly interpret a Shakespearean poem the way someone from the Renaissance could? We have no precedents to give us a bearing here. Future humans could become so advanced that they can assimilate information in ways far deeper than we ever imagined, rendering our current understandings ape-like in comparison. I think there is also the possibility that "filling this glass," if you will, will produce spillage, and what we gain in this sense will come at the expense of a loss of understanding (or perhaps some sort of spiritual connection) with some of the information we now have.

A third possibility is that we will stay essentially the same, and simply continue to amass more and more information, along with information that instructs us on how to interpret ancient information, although we would become ever more dependent on our computers (or possibly cybernetics) to be able to handle this massive amount of data. Let me put this into perspective for you. Stephen Hawking predicts that, based on our current rate of growth, that by the year 2600 there would be a new paper written in his particularly narrow branch of theoretical physics alone every second (or so). So we are rapidly creating new disciplines and accelerating the growth of knowledge in each discipline, and we are fast reaching a point where there isn't going to be a human alive, not even a savant of the rarist abilities, that will possibly be able to apprehend even the most novel amount of it in order to make any sense of it. Information also seems to be becoming more cross-dependent as well, so that it's becoming more important for people in previously independent fields to be conscious of what their colleagues are up to. Again, I don't see any alternative but cybernetics for us if we are to continue gaining knowledge. Our natural evolutionary processes are practically useless at this point, and one could even argue they are purely detrimental since they are based on survival of the fittest and we don't let anyone die anymore. Our progress must now advance through genetic engineering and cybernetics. Growing humans outside the womb so that head-size can be increased to harbor larger brains, complete with electronic implants for higher computational speeds and data storage.
Rob
Indophile
Posts: 1,414
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9/25/2011 1:52:16 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/24/2011 9:34:47 AM, Lasagna wrote:
Digitization, in theory, halts loss of information. However I suppose it's the interpretation of that digital code that would start to degrade. Can a human 5 million years from now properly interpret a Shakespearean poem the way someone from the Renaissance could? We have no precedents to give us a bearing here. Future humans could become so advanced that they can assimilate information in ways far deeper than we ever imagined, rendering our current understandings ape-like in comparison. I think there is also the possibility that "filling this glass," if you will, will produce spillage, and what we gain in this sense will come at the expense of a loss of understanding (or perhaps some sort of spiritual connection) with some of the information we now have.

A third possibility is that we will stay essentially the same, and simply continue to amass more and more information, along with information that instructs us on how to interpret ancient information, although we would become ever more dependent on our computers (or possibly cybernetics) to be able to handle this massive amount of data. Let me put this into perspective for you. Stephen Hawking predicts that, based on our current rate of growth, that by the year 2600 there would be a new paper written in his particularly narrow branch of theoretical physics alone every second (or so). So we are rapidly creating new disciplines and accelerating the growth of knowledge in each discipline, and we are fast reaching a point where there isn't going to be a human alive, not even a savant of the rarist abilities, that will possibly be able to apprehend even the most novel amount of it in order to make any sense of it. Information also seems to be becoming more cross-dependent as well, so that it's becoming more important for people in previously independent fields to be conscious of what their colleagues are up to. Again, I don't see any alternative but cybernetics for us if we are to continue gaining knowledge. Our natural evolutionary processes are practically useless at this point, and one could even argue they are purely detrimental since they are based on survival of the fittest and we don't let anyone die anymore. Our progress must now advance through genetic engineering and cybernetics. Growing humans outside the womb so that head-size can be increased to harbor larger brains, complete with electronic implants for higher computational speeds and data storage.

Why the stress on increasing the brain size? If cybernetics advances, we can actually reduce the size of the brains, can we not?

I find it hard to swallow that our brain is optimized at all. It's size could be reduced, it could be made less bloodthirsty, it could be protected better, etc.

Also, if you are really going to grow humans outside the womb, why grow a human at all? Just grow brains and create digital/mechanical interfaces for it. Basically grow organic computers.

Right now, the argument from rationality states that the brain is the only portion that makes us different from animals, etc., as if the human body is not worth much. Thus, we can get rid of the human bodily cage and just deal with brains thenceforth, yes?
You will say that I don't really know you
And it will be true.