Reality is information itself

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I did not really realize what I was saying when I wrote that reality is actually information itself in my essay titled "The Fourth Generation of Human Rights" a few weeks ago. In the essay, I wrote:
Living things are biologically nothing but genetic codes and -- through molecular manufacturing -- materials are physically nothing but a set of atomic structures. Thus, in the knowledge age, reality is no different than information itself.
Then, I googled "reality is information" and I came up with this:

Anton Zeilinger, Professor of Physics at University of Vienna, writes:
What I believe but cannot prove is that quantum physics teaches us to abandon the distinction between information and reality.
The fundamental reason why I believe in this is that it is impossible to make an operational distinction between reality and information. In other words, whenever we make any statement about the world, about any object, about any feature of any object, we always make statements about the information we have. And, whenever we make scientific predictions we make statements about information we possibly attain in the future. So one might be tempted to believe that everything is just information. The danger there is solipsism and subjectivism. But we know, even as we cannot prove it, that there is reality out there. For me the strongest argument for a reality independent of us is the randomness of the individual quantum event, like the decay of a radioactive atom. There is no hidden reason why a given atom decays at the very instant it does so.
So if reality exists and if we will never be able to make an operational distinction between reality and information, the hypothesis suggests itself that reality and information are the same. We need a new concept which encompasses both. In a sense, reality and information are the two sides of the same coin.
The professor was discribing the phenomenon from a Quantum Physiscs point of view. Just recently, there was an article from, Steve Jurvetson, a
Managing Director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, an active investor in the nanotech and MEMS markets. Steve wrote:
Lab science, from biotech to nanotech, is becoming information science — designed on a computer, not at a lab bench. With replicating molecular machines, physical production itself migrates to the rapid innovation cycle of information technology. Matter becomes code.
Matter becomes code. Interesting. This convinced me of my prediction that the Right to Information will indeed, becomes the fourth generation of human rights.

Hat tip to Denise Howell for referring me to Jurvetson's blog.