Brainy Quote of the Day

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Entropy and Intelligence...

The second law of thermodynamics—the one that says entropy can only increase—dictates that a complex system always evolves toward greater disorderliness in the way internal components arrange themselves. In Physical Review Letters, two researchers explore a mathematical extension of this principle that focuses not on the arrangements that the system can reach now, but on those that will become accessible in the future. They argue that simple mechanical systems that are postulated to follow this rule show features of “intelligence,” hinting at a connection between this most-human attribute and fundamental physical laws.

Entropy measures the number of internal arrangements of a system that result in the same outward appearance. Entropy rises because, for statistical reasons, a system evolves toward states that have many internal arrangements. A variety of previous research has provided “lots of hints that there’s some sort of association between intelligence and entropy maximization,” says Alex Wissner-Gross of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). On the grandest scale, for example, theorists have argued that choosing possible universes that create the most entropy favors cosmological models that allow the emergence of intelligent observers [1].

Hoping to firm up such notions, Wissner-Gross teamed up with Cameron Freer of the University of Hawaii at Manoa to propose a “causal path entropy.” This entropy is based not on the internal arrangements accessible to a system at any moment, but on the number of arrangements it could pass through on the way to possible future states. They then calculated a “causal entropic force” that pushes the system to evolve so as to increase this modified entropy. This hypothetical force is analogous to the pressure that a gas-filled compartment exerts on a piston separating it from a nearly evacuated compartment. In this example, the force arises because the piston’s motion increases the entropy of the filled compartment more than it reduces that of the nearly empty one.

I could say a lot about entropy and the current pseudo political science seen practiced in recent days. I'll leave that for you to ponder...

American Physical Society:
Focus: Model Suggests Link between Intelligence and Entropy

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