More On Living Information

August 6, 2009
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My last post on ‘Is Information Alive?‘ got into evolution and whether-or-not information was evolving on the net. As I was writing this I was reminded of an essay I read a while back. The essay is titled “Organelles as Organisms” by Lewis Thomas. In it he introduced the novel idea that we are all just bags of bacteria:

“My mitochondria comprise a very large proportion of me. I cannot do the calculation but I suppose there is almost as much of them in sheer dry bulk as there is the rest of me. Looked at in this way, I could be taken for a very large, motile colony of respiring bacteria, operating a complex system of nuclei, microtubules and neurons for the pleasure and sustenance of their families, and running, at the moment, a typewriter.

I am intimately involved, and obliged to do a great deal of essential work for my mitochondria. My nuclei code out the outer membranes of each, and a good many of the enzymes attached to the cristae must be synthesized by me. Each of them, by all accounts, makes only enough of its own materials to get along on, and the rest must come from me. And I am the one who has to do the worrying.”

Exponential_growth_largeSo maybe living information is the least of our worries.



My last post on ‘Is Information Alive?‘ got into evolution and whether-or-not information was evolving on the net. As I was writing this I was reminded of an essay I read a while back. The essay is titled “Organelles as Organisms” by Lewis Thomas. In it he introduced the novel idea that we are all just bags of bacteria:

“My mitochondria comprise a very large proportion of me. I cannot do the calculation but I suppose there is almost as much of them in sheer dry bulk as there is the rest of me. Looked at in this way, I could be taken for a very large, motile colony of respiring bacteria, operating a complex system of nuclei, microtubules and neurons for the pleasure and sustenance of their families, and running, at the moment, a typewriter.

I am intimately involved, and obliged to do a great deal of essential work for my mitochondria. My nuclei code out the outer membranes of each, and a good many of the enzymes attached to the cristae must be synthesized by me. Each of them, by all accounts, makes only enough of its own materials to get along on, and the rest must come from me. And I am the one who has to do the worrying.”

Exponential_growth_largeSo maybe living information is the least of our worries. What do my fellow bacteria think of that?

The essay is available on the net and you can order the book on Amazon, but here is a copy you can download:

To the right is a prediction of how computing power will increase. Consensus opinion is that The Singularity will occur before 2029. Click on the image for a larger 

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