A general understanding of information ws2012-13


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Presentation used in the first lectures of the course in English "A General Understanding of Information" at the Hochschule München, Germany (WS 2012-13).

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A general understanding of information ws2012-13

  1. 1. Philosophy: Philosphy of Information Fakultät 13, Hochschule München, Wintersemester 2012-2013 Information: Brücke zwischenJosé María Díaz Nafría (Universidad de León, Spain) 4. März 2011 Informationsphilosophie. Information und urbanes Systeme 1
  2. 2. A General Understanding of Information 1. Groundings [Monday-Tuesday] a) The information age and the language of information (historical perspective) b) The Frame of the Mathematical Theory of Communication c) Semantic information 2. Information throughout the ladder of complexity [W.-Th.] a) Physical information b) Biological Information c) Human information (life-world, cultural-world) 3. General Theories of Information [Th.-Fr.] a) Broadening the mathematical information concept (complexity theory) b) Situation theory c) Information in a nutshell: GTI, UTISS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 2
  3. 3. The origins of the information concept Latin and Greek roots • Material information case (Hefestos) • Observation case (Subject) • Speaking or Instructional case (communication) Plato’s Forms • Otherworldliness • Digital communication model Aristotle’s Inductions • Form (actuality) and Matter (potentiality) • The individuality of real things. Particular form: essences • General essences: being of species that can be inductively graspedSS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 3
  4. 4. Bibliographic tips• FLORIDI, L. (2010). Information. A very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.• DÍAZ NAFRÍA, J.M. (2011). Messages in an open universe. in Capurro, R. and Holgate (eds.). Messages and messangers. Angeletics as an approach to the phenomenology of of communication. Munich: W.Fink, 195-229.• DIAZ NAFRIA (2011): Information, a multidimensional reality, in Curras and Lloret. Nuria LLORET(2011). Systems Science and Collaborative Information Systems. Hershey PA, USA: IGI Global• HOFKIRCHNER, W. (2010). Twenty Questions About a Unified Theory of Information. Arizona: Emergent publications.• LYRE, Holger (2002). Informationstheorie. Eine philosophisch- naturwissenschftliche Einführung. Munich: W.Fink Verlag.• BURGIN, M. (2010). Theory of Information. Fundamentality, Diversity and Unification. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing.SS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 4
  5. 5. Bibliographic tips• DÍAZ NAFRIA, J.M., et al. (Koord.) (2010). Glossarium BITri: glossary of Concepts, metaphors, theories and problems concerning information. León: Universidad de León [online http://glossarium.bitrum.unileon.es/glossary, http://wp.me/pzKNC-66]• DÍAZ NAFRÍA, J.M. (2010). Information: a multidimensional concern. TripleC, 8(1), 77-108 [online http://triple- c.at/index.php/tripleC/article/view/76/168].• DÍAZ NAFRÍA and SALTO (2009). What is information? An interdisciplinary approach. Special issue TripleC, 7(2) [online http://wp.me/pzKNC-2G].SS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 5
  6. 6. Invitation to Complementary ActivitySocial networks:from indignation to change(ethical, political and aesthetical aspects)21-23.09.2012 in León, SpainCooperation:Universidad de León – HM – UTI RG – MUSACWith: Prof. R.E. Zimmermann (HM) Prof. J.M. Díaz Nafría (ULE) Prof. P. Fleissner (TUW), et al.Certificate of assistance, Credits: 1 ECTS, No evaluationSS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 6
  7. 7. I. Groundings (the development of the information understanding)0. Towards a general understanding of information1. Development of the information concept: Plato, Aristotle, Middle Ages, Modernity, (technique and physics)2. General understanding of Information3. Mathematical Theory of Communication4. Algorithmic Theory of Information5. Information in the sciencesSS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 7
  8. 8. 0. Towards a General Understanding of Information• In the Information Era we should be able to understand what really information means (Comparison to the Iron Era, iron vs cupper)• The Nature of information is not solved• Information can be considered as something mediating between Objects and Subjects• To this end, a general understanding of O. & S. is also needed.SS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 8
  9. 9. I.0 Information concept (tangible) Information Time t1 t2 t3 Object: In opposition to the Subject Subject of the change of the changeSS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 9
  10. 10. (0) Information concept (immaterial) Time Information t1 t2 t3 Object: In opposition to the subject of Subject of the change the change (awareness) (in the awareness)SS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 10
  11. 11. (0) Clarifying• Form: a particular configuration/Gestalt produced in the subject.• Subject: System which can adopt potential changes• Object: what remains stable (in front of the subject) causing the changes in the subject ~ Model• Time: Run of the procedure (i.e. change of the subject)• O. vs S.: In strict sense, both sides change during the process (O. & S. are only relative regarding the corresponding change)SS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 11
  12. 12. (1) Evolution of the information concept (a) Plato vs. AristotlePlato (idealistic tradition)• Form is what exists in the first place and it is out of the world, otherworldliness (a-spatial, a-temporal).• Forms are participated by appearances (phenomena) and souls. By these means the observer can really recognize the forms.• The innate ideas must be awaken (the observer recognizes what already was in his soul).• The observer returns to the truth, slept within himself.SS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 12
  13. 13. Plato: World of forms Form Appearance I Ideas Observer Decontextualizing: Die existing Forms belong to the otherworldliness (a- spatial, a-temporal)SS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 13
  14. 14. Plato and Signal Theory• From the viewpoint of the modern signal theory (Digital Transmission): Ideal of transparence Si Si’ Compared with Si {S1, S2,… SN} {S1, S2,… SN} NoiseSS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 14
  15. 15. (b) Aristotle• Form: embrace the essential properties of a thing• Matter: embrace the potential changes• Every thing has its own form, its own essence, which correspond to its being.• The reality of a thing relates to its details, its differences (dish in Plato and Aristotle)• There is a general being, which corresponds to the being of the species. One can inductively recognize them by observation.SS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 15
  16. 16. (c) Information concept (Middle ages)Augustine of Hippona: „Credo ut intellego“ Truth Revelation Requirement: God Noiseless Belief channelsAnselm: „Fidens quarens intellectum“ endeavor towards understandingAquinas: Reality is understandableHermeneutic: Activity of Interpretation, Imagination-AbilitySS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 16
  17. 17. (d) Information concept (Modernity)• Reformation and Enlightenment received significantly the clarity and transparence of Augustine (transparency ≈ unmediated, No distance)• Physics in that time had control over space, but not over time -until 19.Century-. Newton: “Absolute, true, and mathematical time, of itself, and from its own nature, flows equably without relation to anything external.” (Scholia to the definitions in PN-Principia Mathematica, Bk. 1, 1689)• Time was left free to philosophy, where it was not considered as an independent concept, but as something inherent to processes (Leibniz, Kant, Heidegger, Bergson).SS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 17
  18. 18. (e) Modern Communication theory• The most important difference between early and modern telecommunication concerns transmission speed.• Until end of the 19th c. I-transmission was understood as an immediate event: – The time of the transmission process disappears. – The mediating space correspondingly disappears, – One can only speak of the process of the E. and R., which must be synchronized.SS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 18
  19. 19. XIX C. Physics• Late 19th Century Physics (e.g. Maxwell) understood the being of time as attached to processes: – Entropy represents the irreversibility of processes (Time: inevitable and unidirectional run of the processes) – Physics of fields understood Processes in Space & Time > Change in the understanding of EM transmissionSS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 19
  20. 20. Mathematical Theory of Communication (Shannon) Original Decoded message Codified message Message Emitter Coder Channel Decoder Receptor Noise Noiseless Channels (magische Kanale)This viewpoint (and alongside the oblivion of space) have many consequences inthe actual game of the globalization:1. It technically enables the run of the economical processes at the international level.2. It technically enables the hiding of power relations.3. Instead of facilitating social achievements, the power constellation (economical domination) can easily reconfigure the network of economic agency.SS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 20
  21. 21. I.1(g) Computer technique and Cybernetics, 20th C.1940s Pioneering work of Alan TURING, J. VON NEUMANN1950s Machine-model of neuronal systems (McCULLOCH et al.): Connectionism40s-60s First Cybernetics (N. WIENER, R. ASHBY) and System Theory (L. von BERTALANFFY, CHURCHMANN…)60s-70s Artificial intelligence (NEWELL, SIMON, MINSKY): Symbol Processing (z.B. LISP) > MACKAY60s-80s Codification and Pattern recognition (KOLMOGOROV, SOLOMONOFF, CHAITIN): Theory of complexity and Algorithmic Information Theory1970s- Second Cybernetics (MATURANA, VARELA, van FOSTER) and complexity theory (MORIN, ZIMMERMANN) SS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 21
  22. 22. Aspects of a general understanding of information• Semiotic: Theory of signs and symbols (Morris, 1938) – The Syntax concerns the occurrence of individual information units and their mutual relations. – The Semantic concerns the meaning of information units and their mutual relations. – The Pragmatic concerns the effect of information units and their mutual relations.A complete understanding of information unfolds in thedimensions: Syntax, Semantic and PragmaticSS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 22
  23. 23. I.2. Aspects of a general understanding of information• Timely aspects of information (Weizsäcker): – Actual: already present and effected information – Potential: the possibility to obtain actual information.Namely, the difference between past and future is grasped bythe information concept.Actual information exists factually, whereas potentialinformation exist only in relation to possibilities.Therefore AI can be regarded ontologically, whereas PI isintrinsically relational.SS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 23
  24. 24. I.2(a) Syntax and Probability I = - ld p = - log2 p Extensive measure: I-Content of a dual system: I(cont) = I(1) + I(2)• Probability & potential syntactic information are equivalent concepts for the quantification of possibilities.• The concept of probability can be regarded as a sub-concept of a general information concept.SS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 24
  25. 25. (I.2.a) Example: information measurement through unveiling a card 32 Cards: 8 cards / type (clubs, spades, hearts and diamonds) 1-8 Clubs 1-8 Spades 1-8 Hearts 1-8 Diamonds Mínimal # of questions –in average- for yes/no answers Q1: Black? A1: No Q2: Heart ? A2: No Q3: > 4? A3: No Q4: > 2? A4: Yes Q5: 4? A5: Yes SS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 25
  26. 26. I.2(b) Semantic and Pragmatic• The necessary entanglement of semantic and pragmatic aspects of information within semantic-pragmatics offers the possibility to an objectification of semantics.• Context always presuppose context, I. always presuppose I.• Information exist only relative in respect to a difference between 2 semantic levels.• The philosophical key issues in the research of the I- concept concern the epistemological and ontological aspects. Both questions are actually interdependent.SS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 26
  27. 27. I.3. Telecommunication Information theory• Shannon’s Information-Entropy Ii=- log2pi P={1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/8 }; Dice p1=p; p2=(1-p)• Theory of codification In order to transmit the maximal amount of information content in the minimal time: Redundancy-free Source (Morse, 4 symbols ex.) Huffman method: lk~Ik, Prefix-feature SS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 27
  28. 28. I.3. Telecommunication Information theory• Firstness (Erstmäligkeit) and Confirmation “The word information, in this theory, is used in a special sense that must not be confused with its ordinary usage. In particular, information must not be confused with meaning… In fact, two messages, one of which is heavily loaded with meaning and the other of which is pure nonsense, can be exactly equivalent, from the present viewpoint, as regards information... In the theory of communication, information relates no so much to what is said but to what could be said. information is a measure of the freedom of choice communicators have when they select a message.” (Weaver) The telecommunication I-Theory treats Information under syntactical aspectsSS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 28
  29. 29. I.3 Telecommunication Information theoryIs there information without confirmation? – Phenomenon, manifestation underlying reality – Perception, stating that something is the case requires confirmation – A confirmed phenomenon provides no information Information Shannon (MTC) Pragmatic-semantics 0 1/2 1 Confirmation (Redundancy) 1 0 Firstness (Novelty)SS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 29
  30. 30. I.4. Semantical approach to InformationGDI (data + meaning) σ is an instance of information (understood as semantic information) if and only if 1) σ consists of n data, for n≥1 2) The data are well formed 3) The wellformed data are meaningfulDd datum X being distinct from y, where x and y are 2 uninterpreted variables and the relation of being distinct as well as the domain are left open to further interpretation.SS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 30
  31. 31. I.4. Semantic approach to InformationEnvironmental information 2 systems a & b coupled in such a way that a’s being F is correlated to b being G, then carrying the information for the observer of a the Information that b is G.Factual semantic information p qualifies as factual semantic information if and only if p is (constituited by) well-formed, meaningful and veridical dataSS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 31
  32. 32. I.4. Algorithmic Information Theory• The algorithmic information content is a measure of the syntactical diversity or complexity• The very shortest description: Ialg(s)=L(pmin s)• Differences with the shannonian concept: 1. Syntactic vs. Minimal complexity as usage of that semantic providing a minimal syntactic effort. 2. Potential vs. Actual Information 3. Objective vs. Relative quantitative concept: Complexity in relation to regularities that are readable from a selected semantic space.• The algorithmic I-content measures actual I. under both syntactic and semantic aspects. It represents no absolute quantity but a relative one.• It is not computable, i.e. it is related to subjects.SS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 32
  33. 33. I.5. The information concept in the sciences• Symtem theory (Bertalanffy, Wiener)• S.S. (Luhmann), B.S. (Maturana u. Varela)• Th. of open systems (Weizsäcker)• Linguistics (Chomsky, Eco)• Economy (N. Georgercu-Roegen)SS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 33
  34. 34. I.5. The information concept in the sciencesSS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 34
  35. 35. I.5. The information concept in the sciences Objective or subjective? Relational concept, Subjective Ontological category dependent on: concept independent Subjectivity or Intencionality Release Uncertainty, Interpretable mechanism probability Measu- Structure Structure and and Abstract General Human rement and process behaviour, generating Evolution Theory of Ciber- Objective nétics Dependent of Information Biology Objecti- Semantic Maturana, Varela General Algorithmic Unified Wiener MTC Theory of Information Theory of vised Theories of 2nd O. Cibernetics V. Foerster Relevance Stonier Karpatschof Günther Measure Theory Information Seman- Information Cognitive Decision T. Gitt tics (Activity Dretske Racionality T. ment Inf. Hermeneutics Shannon Theory) Capurro Weaber v. Neuman Solomonoff Hoffkirchner Weizsäcker Bar-Hillel & Carnap Situational Intersubj. Knowledge Kolmogorov Fleissner Brillouin Lyre (Quantic T. of Inf.) Barwise, Perry, Oeser Chaitin Fenzl Mähler Matsuno (Diacronic I.) Seligman, Israel Lazlo Truthfulness Brier (Cibersemiotics) Floridi mental Difference Flückiger Selfreferent. Sist T. Luhmann Cognitive ScienceSS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 35
  36. 36. I.5. The information concept in the sciences Syntactical Semantic Pragmatic Syntactical How is it expressed? What does it represent? Is it true? What value does it have? How is it expressed? MTC (Shannon, Logical empiricism (Bar-Hillel, Algorithmic Information Theory (Solomonoff, Kolmogorof, Chaitin) Weaver) Carnap) Holographic Universe Cognitive constructivism Theory of purpose-oriented action (Janich) (Bekenstein) (Dretske) Quantum Theory of Information Situational semantics (Barwise, Perry, Aesthetic Theory of Information (Bense, and Measurement (Lyre, Seligman…) Moles) Mahler…) Fuzzy semantics (Zadeh, Activity Theory (Karpatschof) Pérez-Amat…) Theory of Self-referential Systems (Luhmann) Objectivised semantics (Weizsäcker, Lyre) Theory of Objective Information (Stonier, Gitt) Unified Theory of Information (Hoffkirchener, Fleissner, Fenzl, Lazlo, Brier,…)SS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 36
  37. 37. II. Information in the physicsIt is still not a physical concept as E, M, S, TCentral role?1. Thermodynamics Principles (1., 2., 3.)2. Field theory Appearance and Perception3. Quantum theory Measurement theory4. Space-time Theory Relativity theory, Quantum GravitySS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 37
  38. 38. II.1 Thermodynamics1. Entropy and 2nd Principle – (1., 2., 3.) Principles dS = Qrev/T, dS 0 Qirr irreversible Processes – BOLTZMANN, MAXWELL, GIBBS: phenomenologic- macroscopic Th. microscopic-mechanical – BOLTZMANN (1896): Entropy as quantitative concept: S = –k B ln p S = –k B piln pi Information entropy and thermodynamic entropy are formal identical. Both quantities are equal, if one considers Entropy as potential Information, as quantity of the number of possible micro- states in a macro-state.SS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 38
  39. 39. II.1 Thermodynamics2. Maxwell’s Daemon The molecules have the same different average speed average speedSS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 39
  40. 40. II.2 Field theory (natural limits of information) φύσις κρύπτεσθαι φιλεῖ «Nature loves to hide» Heraclitus of Ephesus Bounding surface Structure of the phenomenon 2 2 1 Ψ r, t Ψ r, t S 2 2 v t D Observed reality (Object) Observer (Subject) Arbitrary complexitySS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 40
  41. 41. II.2 Field theory (natural limits of information)Phenomena Wavefunction 1 1 G ( u 1 , v1 , x n , y n , z n ) N N Ψ   fn ψn fn T f wo ψ n  n 1 n 1 M M G (u M , v M , x n , y n , z n ) Source: (Real or predicted equivalent)What is the complexity of the phenomenon?Namely, haw much information does it convey?1) The solution is univocal only for a discrete projections over a given bounding surface.2) The details are regularly distributed (~λ/2)3) The highest gathered information does not Bounding surface (Huygens Principle) depend on the accuracy of the observation but on the dimension of the ψ ( a2)SS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 41
  42. 42. II.2 Field theory (natural limits of information) Observation domain z 1) The field of an arbitrary structure is computed Arbitrary on an observed domain. structure 2) From this „observation“ a projection over the perfect polyhedron is determined. 3) The field of both the original structure and the E projected in the prediction domain are equal. a EDomain of Domain of observationprediction x y Polyedron of projectionUniqueness solution for the selected projection distribution 1 f Projection [T T ] T Ψ OBS/ min d T f Projection , Ψ OBS f Domain of prediction Trans-Operator: f → ψ SS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 42
  43. 43. II.2 Field theory (natural limits of information) Trans-Operator: s → ψ Projection-Operator: ψ → sSS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 43
  44. 44. II.3 Quantum theory (Limits of information) It is possible to speak of potential and actual (Weizsäcker) ZeitSS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 44
  45. 45. (II. Appendix) Perception: Consequences ofthe physical limits in the human perception a) regular hole or irregular coloured b) irregular protuberance or regular protuberance coloured hole• The preferred perceptions tend to be those corresponding to the simplest configurations (Ockam’s razor)SS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 45
  46. 46. (II. Appendix) PerceptionExamples of ambiguos perceptionSS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 46
  47. 47. (II. Appendix) PerceptionSolution of ambiguities Initial hypothesis G1-1 G2-1 G3-1 GN-1 k k k k ●●● k Ob{ Ψ 1 } Ob{ Ψ 2 } K{ s } Ob{ Ψ 3 } Ob{ Ψ N } G1 G2 k k 1 G3 GN d {s , s } N N N f , Ψ1 ... ΨNSS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 47
  48. 48. III. Information in BiologyThe actual decoding of human genome brings inbiology the information theoretical aspects to thefore1. Genetics Theory of heritage, Molecular-biology2. Evolution theory Appearance and PerceptionSS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 48
  49. 49. III.0 Historical remarksDarwin: “tiny germs” / mutations Galton: „lineages“ (used in ontogenesis)Mendel (1856): a carrier for every individualcharacter Correns, Tschermark, and de Vries rediscover the heritage theory, Molecular biologyMiescher (1869): nucleotide of cell kernel (DNA).Müller (1925, Mutations of Drosophila)Bateson: “Genetics“, Johannensen: “Gen“SS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 49
  50. 50. III.0 Historical remarksAvery (1944): Transformations as f(DNA) Hershey and Chase: experiment with bacteriophagusSchrödiger (1944): „a-periodical crystal“ Watson and Crick: Nature of the DNA MoleculeNot the chemistry of the DNA but the molecular structure:Information theoretical paradigmSS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 50
  51. 51. III.1 Genetics Transcription Translation DNA RNA Polypeptid Replication Since discovery of Retrovieren• Central dogma of the molecular biology• 4 Bases: (A) Adenine, (G) Guanine, (T) Thymine, (C) Cytosine• Chargaff’s rules: {A & T}, {G & C} equivalent molar amountsThe DNA heritage-molecule represents in its nucleotide-structure a genetic code –i.e. syntactical information- for theproduction of RNA and Proteins.SS 2012 A General Understanding of Information 51