Posts Tagged ‘firmbytes’

Why Information Grows

September 1, 2015

“Why Information Grows” is the first part of a title than continues “The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies” is a new and highly creative book by Cesar Hidalgo, a statistical physicist at the MIT Media Lab.  Readers of the healthy memory blog should be aware of the problems of mainstream economics.  First of all, the assumption of rational man is wrong, and that problem is being gradually addressed by behavioral economics.  Then there is the problem of the inadequacy of the primary dependent variable used in economics, Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  Contemporary economics has also had difficulty  explaining how economies grow.   Dr. Hidalgo addresses this shortcoming in a remarkably creative manner.

The special sauce that Hidalgo offers is knowledge and knowhow, and knowledge and knowhow is defined in terms of physical order.  Hidalgo regards nature as a big computer that has been growing information for billions of years.  The physical incarnation is nature as we know it.  We humans further this growth via the crystallization of knowledge.  This crystallization  of knowledge is defined by physical order.  This physical order can be found in research papers and plans designed to take us to the moon.  The arrangement of atoms, their physical order, their crystallization of knowledge can be defined in the rockets, modules, and other materials developed to take human to the moon to return successfully.

Personbytes refer to the amount of information that can be contained in an individual human.  This information is constrained.  It can be aggregated at higher levels into firmbytes, which are also constrained, but much less so.  The success of countries or economies are the direct product of crystalized knowledge and knowhow.

These ideas are quite new, they are in an infant state, if you will,and they hold much promise not only for economics, but also for us humans and how successfully we are able to interact with the world.

At this point some readers might be thinking, this is all very good, but what has this to do with a healthy memory?   I summarize books for a variety of reasons.  I think they contain information that is useful.  Economics is a discipline that affects us directly and has some notable shortcomings.  So these reviews include information that I think would be good for readers to know.

However, they are also relevant to a healthy memory.    Keeping a memory healthy requires continual learning to build new memory circuits in the brain.  In this respect, this particular book not only builds new memory circuits, but also establishes new relationships among the sciences.  This book builds new relationships between physics and economics, so it is especially valuable.  Of course, there is significant benefit to be gained by not only regarding this blog, but also by reading the book.

© Douglas Griffith and, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Douglas Griffith and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.