Running a brain-twisting thought experiment for real shows that information is a physical thing – so can we now harness the most elusive entity in the cosmos?
Recently came the most startling demonstration yet: a tiny machine powered purely by information, which chilled metal through the power of its knowledge. This seemingly magical device could put us on the road to new, more efficient nanoscale machines, a better understanding of the workings of life, and a more complete picture of perhaps our most fundamental theory of the physical world. More.
That hardly makes information physical; if anything it would show that the universe in which we live is not ultimately controlled by physical forces. But we would need to pay to find out what the New Scientist writer has in mind.
The last time this idea whistled through, couple years back, the alleged substance was called perceptronium.
For an introduction to what information really is, see Data Basic.
By the way, re New Scientist’s (and the New York Times’s) constant whining for subscriptions, enough! Please, folks, I’d pay a quarter to read your article. I don’t want to hear from you for the rest of my life on that account. You people need a business model that survives the internet. Some sort of a ticker on PayPal maybe.
No, we don’t expect New Scientist to pay attention to such an idea either. They’ll more likely go looking for free money in terms of bigger grants from donorcrats or government.
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