[Fis] The 10 Principles--Replies

Pedro C. Marijuan pcmarijuan.iacs at aragon.es
Sat Sep 19 19:55:26 CEST 2020

Dear All,

This is my third of the week, trying to respond to the recent messages. 
Thanks to all the discussants.
I think Joseph has already responded well to the correct objection 
raised by Krassimir. I like his reformulation of the first Info 
Principle. My own response as I was ruminating would have been that 
there is a "zeroth" principle needed. Something like:/It corresponds to 
entities advancing a life cycle the capability to make distinctions/. 
Incorporating the life-cycle kooks fundamental for me. It could be like 
the "0" in arithmetics--and there is a famous quotation from Whitehead 
about that. And let us note that perhaps the “cycle” itself could be 
meaningfully incorporated in fundamental physical explanation 
[Josephson, 2017] as we talked time ago in this list. Not to forget that 
there is an important connection to make regarding these two or three 
initial points: information physics. Several authors are nowadays 
advancing in informational terms the new "quantum information science".  
Among others, Chiribella and D'Ariano (2010, 2015) have crafted six 
information principles (five axioms and one postulate) from which 
quantum theory can be derived. In next months I would like to say 
something else about that (particularly the relationship between 
entanglement and locality/"adjacency")...

And I continue with Loet's detailed "interrogatory" (/in italics his 

> So here there are those two points:
> *1. Information is distinction on an /adjacent /difference.*
> *2. Information processes consist in organized action upon differences 
> collected onto structures, patterns, sequences, messages, or flows.*
> Here, the *distinction* term refers to the capabilities of the subject 
> or informational entity that is engaged in the exploration of events 
> or signals in its immediate environment.
> /Does this imply that the definition of information is subjective? Or 
> at least intentional?/
--Not exactly. It requires (zeroth principle) a life-cycle capable of 
making some distinctions out from the arriving difference(s) in the 
environment. The life-cycle "experiential" contents and structures will 
determine, first whether any distinctions can be made, and second,  
whether the obtained distinctions should be propagated onto itself in 
order to elaborate a "meaning" and produce a response, or just be 
discarded as meaningless.
> /“The distinction refers to ….” Is this distinction only a reference. 
> Is information always local since based on a distinction of an 
> //adjacent//difference? Why would a distinction from a non-adjacent 
> difference not provide information? /
--There not exist non-adjacent differences. They always need a physical 
channel or carrier to impinge on the eyes, ears, skin, etc. of the 
subject. You always need photons for your eyes to make distinctions 
(plus a lot of previous learning ) out of the letters you are reading in 
a book, in a screen, etc. (impossible for an illiterate person). The 
same for extracting linguistic distinctions out from the phonon 
excitation in your timpanic membrane... Finally it is sheer adjacency of 
the carrier upon the subject. There has been a biological and social 
social "struggle" to increase the adjacency of subjects, to be able to 
achieve the plenum of environmental information out from the forces, 
fields, atoms, photons, phonons, physically impinging on the subjects. 
The Shannonian term channel is quite significant about that: streams of 
differences conduced to your ears, to your eyes, to your apparatuses. 
And "Media" is the collective term for such social communication 
> The subject extracts logical distinctions out from the differences in 
> the materiality of those events.
> Can you, please, provide an example?
--Take cellular receptors of Ecoli, for instance. According to the level 
of excitation, they are phosphorylated in one-two-three-four positions. 
Not more usually. Then they change the response to the cell interior 
accordingly to that phosp. level. So, there will be an elementary 
"distinction" propagated through the system and perhaps combined with a 
few similar ones. In some cases it means nothing and disappears, in 
others it determines a change in flagellum motion status. While in 
others, the really "meaningful" ones, that very robust distinction, also 
propagated (& amplified) with other pathways of the signaling system, 
will produce a robust gene-expression response--even dramatically 
altering the cell-cycle trajectory. Or considering our visual case, the 
photons that are distinguished in the cones and rods of the retina, 
suffer a hyper-complex conjunction of propagated "distinctions" (eg, 
edges, borders, colors...) and other complex processes among the local 
neuronal tissue, and are further processed along several relays, 
visiting the cortex and language centers, and back, so that in less than 
300 milliseconds you may say: "I disagree"!
> /The subject works and therefore generates entropy/information? /
--Yes... but, cellularly, it looks very complex to make a serious 
entropy analysis of that. And even more after so many incredible steps 
in the human sensorimotor pathways... Well, you may forget all the 
surrounding complexity and take a simplified population of "data" and 
say, this is the entropy/info change. It is done for instance in EEG 
recordings (remember Jose Luis Perez Velazquez's presentation here in 
the list), or in a context of linguistic analysis. Karl Friston has 
elaborated a sophisticate approach to brain "free energy" and 
minimization of entropy via action perception cycles in a "Bayesian 
inference machine". (??)
> The guiding idea is that, by following that logic (in itself based on 
> a few principles), one can apply “multidimensional partitions” as 
> formal descriptors of the discrete messages or the signalling flows. 
> And that skeleton of partitions is what “receiving the information” 
> preliminarily implies along this restricted communication logics. It 
> is about how the informational entity may create streams of 
> relationships associated to the material differences in the impinging 
> signalling flows or discrete messages.
> /The informational entity (potentially a subject) may create streams 
> of relationship. /
> //
> /Do the relations contain information? Are non-relations (zeros) 
> included? Are these flows a dynamic extension of the static distinctions?/
--I think so. In the dynamic propagation of distinctions, the "flow" 
might contain snapshots at the millisecond level (the usual 
time-processing limit of enzymes and proteins), carrying distinctions 
related to both presences and absences.  I think it was partially 
responded above. In general, the informational analysis is not 
necessarily similar to the (physical) entropy analysis. You determine 
the steps, the boundaries, the variables, etc. and prudently discard all 
the surroundings.
> The *adjacent* term refers to the physical contact to be achieved 
> between the signalling event and the subject, and the need by the 
> latter of counting with sensory elements or with excitatory surfaces 
> to be physically impinged upon by the incoming signals.
> /Why is this exclusively local? Information can be defined objective 
> and non-local. Is this a subjective choice of you? Is the focus on 
> local and observable biologistic? /
> In living cells, information arrives via particles, molecules, atoms, 
> photons, or phonons that impinge on specialized receptors. It is the 
> same in all sensory surfaces of nervous systems. Increasing the 
> adjacency, extending the territory covered by the communication 
> processes with the environment is a formidable drive of biological 
> evolution: cellular pili, flagella, cilia, arborisation of axons and 
> dendrites, the neuronal multiplicity of sensors and receptors, 
> specialized maps, sensing modalities, etc. By all means, adjacency is 
> increased to the maximum supported by the biological system.
> /This may be the case for biological evolution, but communication 
> technologies enable us to include non-adjacent distinctions. /
--Nope. As said above, we may only imply that those media or techno info 
we have built thousands and thousands of micro-distinctions flowing 
bottom-up and top-down that produce a meaning and finally they make us 
say, "oh, yes, this is non-local info about the US politics". It may 
take barely an instant, and all of those processes are transparent for us.
> We may notice something similar in human societies about the 
> artifacts, means of communication, and scientific-technological 
> apparatuses that transcend the immediate adjacency of subjects in the 
> complex information flows of contemporary societies. By transcending 
> the limits of immediate space-time adjacency, and creating *channels* 
> that carry differences to build ad hoc distinctions, subjects may 
> perform a myriad of further distinction extractions and cognitive 
> operations (think of telescopes, microscopes, telegraph, etc.). By the 
> way, curiously "channel" in the Shanonian scheme represents also that 
> which brings information to the adjacency of the receiver.
> The commonality exhibits, in my opinion, the mathematical character. 
> Once one abstracts from materiality, a mathematical definition becomes 
> unavoidable. Only math (and logic) can be used across domains. Do you 
> have such a definition, equivalent to the Shannon H?
--Interesting, but do you think the Shannonian metrics is the only thing 
in common? Do you think it is the only-one info metrics in town? There 
are quite many physical and informational entropies around. See for 
instance (van Heel and Schatz 2020) about "the harvesting of new 
information". But my point revolves about a better understanding of 
sharing a life-cycle (& its experiential load--a culture for instance) 
as a powerful level-playing field in social and biological 
communication. It dissolves eons of complexity.
> By the way: addenda to pont two for Krassimir: *data result from the 
> measurement of an action* (or of an aggregate of multiple actions, or 
> surrogates of actions).
> Difficult to follow in my opinion.  Best, Loet
--Now would look better?**Data result from measurement actions (or from 
surrogates of actions, or from aggregates of multiple actions). To 
Krassimir comment: a picture is not data, but a potential source of 
data... Will keep thinking.

Many thanks for the comments and questions. Sorry if it has become too long.

Greetings to all--Pedro

Pedro C. Marijuán
Grupo de Bioinformación / Bioinformation Group

pcmarijuan.iacs at aragon.es

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