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Concepts of the general theory of information


Chapter 2. Information evolution

Chapter 3. Information properties and laws of its conversion

1. General notion of information

The word "information" is presently well known to everybody. Meanwhile, it has come into common use since not very long ago, i.e. in the middle of the twenties century by initiative of Claude Shannon. He has introduced this term in a limited technical sense as applied to the theory of communication or code transmission (called Information Theory). About simultaneously with him, Norbert Wiener substantiated a necessity of approaching to information as a common phenomenon significant for existence of nature, human being and society.

Eventually, the term has been getting an ever broadening and deepening sense. This was in parallel with that a need for processes of moving and processing of what was given a common name Information to be organized in a conscious manner was growing up.

Meanwhile, the notion of information as such still remains to a high extent intuitive and gets a variety of meanings in different areas of human activities.

The time seems to have come to get back to the Wiener's approach and consider the exchange of Information as a global phenomenon on the whole. This is the only possible way to reveal its common properties and conformity with the laws of nature of which the knowledge may happen to be useful in studying and construction of every particular realization of this phenomenon.

To draw a most general definition of the information notion we shall single out one of its properties so that it is, on the one hand, inherent to any of its specific manifestation and, one the other hand, allows distinguishing the latter from manifestations of other notions. In other words, our intent is to single out one necessary and sufficient characteristic by which we shall find whether this or another phenomenon refers to manifestation of the information notion.

Let us start with construction of a most simple scheme with the following three notions: Object, Medium and Interaction. Object is something stable in time and limited in space interesting to us as a whole. Medium is a set of all other potential Objects interesting to us only from the viewpoint of their influence on condition of the Object singled out and a reverse influence of the Object on their condition. Interaction is an extended-in-time process of interdependent changes in condition parameters of Object and Medium. This scheme is closed in the sense that Medium incorporates all potential Objects being able to affect condition of an Object singled out.

In the nature, there exist two fundamental types of interaction: exchange by matter and by energy. Fundamental character of these types of interaction consists in that all other interactions occur thanks to them. These types of interaction follow the law of conservation. The amount of matter and energy that one object transmitted to another is as much as the other received and vice versa. The losses during transmission are not considered for losses of matter and energy are impossible in a closed medium, and what is called losses are individual acts of interaction with other objects of the same medium. Medium is closed in the sense that only inside it all interactions occur.

Interactions energy and matter between objects is symmetrical, i.e. one object transmitted as much as the other received. Transitions between matter and energy do not affect the total balance due to the laws of preservation of their ratio constant. Object destruction resulting from such interactions does not affect the total balance either for the sum of constants of the relation between matter and energy resulted from fragment destruction (new objects) is also preserved.

Let us assume as an axiom that interaction of a higher order based on combination of fundamental interactions may take place between objects, in this case some substance gets over from one object to another and losses of one object are not consistent with gain of the other. Such an interaction is non-symmetrical. In an extreme case of non-symmetrical interaction, as substance is transmitted between objects one of the objects gains it whereas the other does not lose. The amount of energy and matter will naturally be changed in this case since the given interaction act is based on a combination of fundamental types interaction ensuring substance transfer.

Now we shall formulate a most general definition of the Information notion we shall depart from in the future.

Any interaction between objects during which one object gains some substance and the other does not lose it, is called Information Interaction. In this case, the substance under transmission is referred to as Information.

Two most general properties of information follow from the above definition.

First: Information cannot exist outside of object interaction. Second: In the course of this interaction information is not lost by any of them.

Chapter 2. Information evolution

Date of the publication:

February 27, 2001

Electronic version:

© NiT. Current publications, 1997