What exactly is information


If everything is just an arrangement of particles and waves, is information just a change in that arrangement? And aren’t waves exactly that – change?

If that were true tho, doesn’t information stop existing at absolute 0 degrees Kelvin?

In: Physics

If you consider the arraignment of particles as information, and the wave being the change in that information, then pulling the temperature to absolute zero is fixing the information and retarding all change.

Superheating the material would be increasing the rate of change to the point where the information is useless.

So information has no real definition in physics. You can encode information like a telegraph signal moving down a wire but if their is no interpreter on the other side who knows the code than it is the same as a random series of pulses. Next is your 0 K question. The answer is it depends. If you have information coded chemically or some other physical way like written word than no. It would survive being at zero however any communication is impossible as nothing is moving. Of course it is impossible to get to true zero so kinda a moot point.

It’s just that. Something “In-formation”. Whether it’s impossible or not, 0 degrees kelvin is still “0 degrees kelvin” which is still information. Information is the result of an observer. What is an observer? Nobody knows.

Very broadly, information is anything that can be reliably interpreted into some kind of meaning. It’s very contextual. DNA is said to contain “genetic information” because we’ve learned how to interpret it. A person who was able to determine the atomic structure of a DNA molecule but had no concept of it’s purpose or how it is used wouldn’t see information there. Similarly, a digital signal transmitting encrypted data is information to us because we have systems that can process it and extract meaning from it. To an alien race who knows nothing about our technology, it might just seem like meaningless noise. By that same token, there may be things out there we’ve observed that seem devoid of any meaning or value which may actually contain some kind of information if the means of interpreting it were understood.