There is nothing to suggest that we "process information" at all. That's what a machine does I cant think of one experiment or even theory that actually can test this notion of "information processing" by living organisms. There is no theory or proposition of biological or meaning information, no means to test, no evidence, no math, no model, no means of observation.
we are using the term "information processing" in a figurative way. Few people believe that we are thinking in the same way as machines or computers respond to outer world.
However, we can observe certain parallelism between computer and human responses. For example, at a most abstract layer, both responses can be formulated as a chain of reactions of the form qSS'q'. Here q stands for an internal state, S the state of the outer (sometimes inner) world, the target of observation being determined by the internal state q. If the state is S, then the computers or humans do S to the outer world and transit to state q'. If the state observed is not S, the internal state returns to the "next" state q.
In the computer case, outer world is a tape or a memory and inner state is the state of CPU or a line of the program we are examining. S means reading the letter at the head, and S' means writing a letter to predetermined place by q'. In the human case, inner world is brain and outer world is the world including our body.
It is well known that any computer program is constructed by a set of ordered set of qSS'q'. Indeed a computable funciton is defined as a finite set of these quadruples.
If you observe human behavior, you will find that our behavior can be decomposed of if-then reactions of the type qSS'q'. See for a detail §6.3 Rule-based behaviors of my paper Evolutionary Economics in the 21st Century a Manifest.
As the above example shows, comparison of human or animal behaviors and computer programs are useful, provided that we are reasoning in this abstract level.
This abstraction is a powerful and precious tool for us to understand a complex phenomena as human and animal behaviors.
Hi there Yoshinora, what you are talking about is a logical connective "if-then" there are 4 main logical connectives " or", "and", if-then, "if-an-only-if". these connectives string declarative statements together. In fact language consists of only 3 patterns of logic "Imperative logic, Declarative Logic & Interrogative logic".
However this has nothing to do with information. Machines "computing devices" have just mimicked this logical structure by our design. But one cant make an isomorphism between the computing machine & human thought. (see Elliot Jaques on Human Capability) and call this information. Its not information its logic.
So my argument still stands, there is no theory, no evidence that there is anything such thing as information in biological organisms. Logic yes information no.
Have you ever read Jacob von Üxküll? He observed animal’s cognitive behavior as an interaction between animal and its Umvelt or environmental world. He pointed out a circular information or communication system which consists of observing, judging and acting. This idea was developed by Seboek and others into Biosemiotics. See for example A semiotic perspective on the sciences: Steps toward a new paradigm, Sringer, 2009.
Hi Yoshinori, ofcourse I know von Uxkull, he is a forerunner in the cybernetic movement. (of which I am member) His stuff is all about negative feedback systems, there is nothing in vU's writing about information he talks about chemical, light etc The information processing stuff was added by modern thinkers which have failed to really understand what he was saying. He influenced Perceptual Control theory (Bill Powers), & first order Cybernetics (Wiener, Bateson, HoF, Pask etc). The paper is just a reading it doesn't provide evidence, models, means of test & observation, lines of enquiry, or propositions. Biosemiotics is only one idea in a pool of many. What I'm saying is not ground breaking or radical Cybernetics buffs like Maturana, von Foerster, Powers had been saying for years the information concept idea is fruitless.
To try answer the question first one needs to understand how to measure (complexity) a complex system, ie an open non-equilibrium living organism. The way to do this is:
1) Measure all the energy forms open to that system using the maximal entropy production function. (Prigogine, & de Groot & Masur))
2) Measure the seven qualitative Quintessential Patterns of Mathematical Category Theory (MCT).
This is not an easy task, but the axiom of MCT "limits" gives us an abstracted glimpse into boundedness. One must understand this limited-ness in terms of all the other 6 patterns of MCT.
Julio Efren Galarraga
Pontifical Catholic University of Chile
Copenhagen Business School
Royal College of Art
INSEAD The Business School for the World
Miloš S. Krstić
University of Niš- Faculty of Sciences and Mathematics
Pacific Beauty Group, International Health group, The Kiss-of-Life project, the Cardiotocograph project
Université de Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
Osaka City University