Friday, May 27, 2016

Entropy and the Self-Organization of Information and Value


mdpi |  Adam Smith, Charles Darwin, Rudolf Clausius, and Léon Brillouin considered certain “values” as key quantities in their descriptions of market competition, natural selection, thermodynamic processes, and information exchange, respectively. None of those values can be computed from elementary properties of the particular object they are attributed to, but rather values represent emergent, irreducible properties. In this paper, such values are jointly understood as information values in certain contexts. For this aim, structural information is distinguished from symbolic information. While the first can be associated with arbitrary physical processes or structures, the latter requires conventions which govern encoding and decoding of the symbols which form a message. As a value of energy, Clausius’ entropy is a universal measure of the structural information contained in a thermodynamic system. The structural information of a message, in contrast to its meaning, can be evaluated by Shannon’s entropy of communication. Symbolic information is found only in the realm of life, such as in animal behavior, human sociology, science, or technology, and is often cooperatively valuated by competition. Ritualization is described here as a universal scenario for the self-organization of symbols by which symbolic information emerges from structural information in the course of evolution processes. Emergent symbolic information exhibits the novel fundamental code symmetry which prevents the meaning of a message from being reducible to the physical structure of its carrier. While symbols turn arbitrary during the ritualization transition, their structures preserve information about their evolution history. 

Entropy: Special Issue "Information and Self-Organization"