Michael Egnor: How does biological information differ from information in nonliving things?
Robert J. Marks: I don’t know if it does… I do believe after recent study that the mind is very different from the physical part of the brain. So there’s information that occurs external to the brain. In terms of just the physical, materialistic definition, most information can be used to measure what is in the biological entity.
We can talk about, however, creativity and where the idea of creativity comes from — the creation of information. And that is outside of naturalistic or information processes.
Michael Egnor: Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle, defined living things as things that strive for their own perfection. He felt that was what distinguished living things from nonliving things. A rock doesn’t everyday wake up in the morning and try to be a better rock. Whereas living things to a greater or lesser degrees of success, try to make themselves better at what they do. They eat, they rest, they interact with nature, they do things to make themselves even better examples of what they are.
It would seem to me that might relate to the difference between information in non-living and living things. Thhe information in living things is directed to ends. It’s directed to purposes that you don’t see in nonliving things in the same way.
Robert J. Marks: I would definitely agree with that it. It does turn out that, in order to do the improvement that you’re talking about, there needs to be a degree of creativity.
This is one of the things that we argue a lot about in artificial intelligence. Will artificial intelligence ever be creative? And I maintain that artificial intelligence will never be creative, it will never understand. And currently it has no common sense…
Michael Egnor: Sure. I mean, I’ve always thought of artificial intelligence as just a representation of human intelligence. And that, in the sense the term artificial intelligence is an oxymoron. If it’s artificial, it’s not intelligence. And it’s so intelligence must be human. And all the intelligence that’s in computers and computer programs and machines, is all human intelligence that is represented in those devices.News, “Does creativity just mean Bigger Data? Or something else?” at Mind Matters News
Takehome: The problem with getting AI to understand causation, as opposed to mere correlation, has led to many spurious correlations in data driven papers.
Here’s the previous episode in the series:
How information becomes everything, including life. Without the information that holds us together, we would just be dust floating around the room. As computer engineer Robert J. Marks explains, our DNA is fundamentally digital, not analog, in how it keeps us being what we are.
You may also wish to read: How information realism subverts materialism Within informational realism, what defines things is their capacity for communicating or exchanging information with other things.