The Theory of Constructal Infonomics as a base model for life.
A TL;DR overview pitch
As David Deutsch describes, the Age of Enlightenment began when scientists and philosophers began looking for explanations of how things work — questioning authority, proposing ideas, testing them, and criticizing them.
The information revolution provided explanations and working models for electronic logic, the internet, and ubiquitous smartphone communication. Each step laid the groundwork for the next step - creating an ever-expanding networked human mind and bringing technology ever closer to a direct connection with our individual human minds.
As never before, the new AI revolution is continuing to push us to explore, question, and explain the most complex and personal aspect of our lives - our minds. This quest for understanding is taking us into every corner of human science and knowledge: Philosophy, neurobiology, sociology, psychology, informatics, behavioral sciences, communication, etc.
To progress in this new world, we must discover the base algorithms that animate complex life forms as conjoined thermodynamic and information entities.
I propose that my Theory of Constructal Infonomics may provide a base model algorithm for all living systems. This theory unites thermodynamic physics with information architecture to define the requirements for any living organism. For success, each component of the theory must be provable and irreducible. The theory must have reach.
A core principle of my theory states that it is not sufficient for an organism to merely harvest enough energy to survive.
To have the best chance for long or even short-term survival, every organism must harvest and store energy that can be used in the event of future environmental variations or any other lack of harvestable energy. Stored energy, defined as “wealth,” can be internal, like fat, or external, like cached nuts, and certainly includes information and knowledge.
The use of wealth by any organism is a thermodynamic process. Stored energy is combined with information and knowledge to enable thermodynamic actions in the physical world, for example, harvesting energy. Since the future is inherently unpredictable, there is no guarantee that any action will produce a positive energetic (wealth) return.
In addition, growth, reproduction, and evolution also represent speculative investments of wealth with no guarantee of a positive return. All of these investments of wealth must, on average, result in an energetic gain, or the organism or species will see its wealth diminish until life is no longer possible.
With this as a base model, we can observe that all organisms will harvest energy, grow, reproduce, and evolve at the maximum possible rate until some environmental or competitive constraint is reached. For the continued expansion of life, an ever-expanding supply of energy is needed.
This “base model” of all life forms as needing, seeking, and evolving to harvest ever more energy provides a takeoff point for further discussion of the complexities that manifest in the real world - human wealth-seeking behavior, altruism, dependency, virtual organisms, the hierarchies of information systems within organisms and much more.
The theory also provides a foundation for the non-anthropogenic definition of poorly defined notions like consciousness, sentience, knowledge, information, and more.
The advent of almost-sentient AI brings to the fore the importance of re-evaluating long-standing “rules of thumb” and poorly defined concepts about the operation and uniqueness of the human mind and indeed, the nature of life itself.
We need explanations built on solid foundations that transcend the purely biological definition of life to incorporate the mechanical, informatic, and social life forms that we have created and on which our future advancement depends.
This is a mission worth undertaking.
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