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A definition of information, the arrow of information, and its relationship to life


  • This article is a US Government work and, as such, is in the public domain in the United States of America.


A new definition of information is proposed that is minimalistic and incorporates a lifetime requirement for conditions, (which we define here) applied to anything that can be considered to be information. The definition explicitly treats a state in thermodynamic equilibrium as an effectively zero information state. The definition includes the absolute requirement of selection for achieving information; the selection criterion being that the information directly or indirectly contributes to its own replication. The definition also explicitly incorporates the Laws of Thermodynamics, the Second Law leading to the requirement for replication. Finally, the definition explains the origin of information and predicts the monotonic increase of information with time. Published 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Complexity, 2011