The World as Evolving Information

TitleThe World as Evolving Information
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsGershenson, C
EditorMinai, A, Braha, D, Bar-Yam}, Y{
Book TitleUnifying Themes in Complex Systems
CityBerlin Heidelberg

This paper discusses the benefits of describing the world as information, especially in the study of the evolution of life and cognition. Traditional studies encounter problems because it is difficult to describe life and cognition in terms of matter and energy, since their laws are valid only at the physical scale. However, if matter and energy, as well as life and cognition, are described in terms of information, evolution can be described consistently as information becoming more complex. The paper presents five tentative laws of information, valid at multiple scales, which are generalizations of Darwinian, cybernetic, thermodynamic, and complexity principles. These are further used to discuss the notions of life and cognition and their evolution.