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Lloyd On Living Systems

February 11, 2013

Excerpted from Programming the Universe, by Seth Lloyd:

Of course, the definition of purposeful behavior is to some degree subjective.  But suppose we focus on behavior that allows a system to (a) get energy and (b) use that energy to construct copies of itself.  Living systems devote most of their time and effort to eating and reproducing.  However one defines life, any system that can accomplish those two actions has gone a long way on the road to being alive.  Once we identify as purposeful those behaviors that enhance the system’s ability to get energy and use it to reproduce, then we can measure the effective complexity of all living systems and all systems that may someday be alive.  As we’ll see, effectively complex systems that get energy and reproduce arise naturally out of the underlying computational processes of the universe.

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From → Books, Excerpts, Physics

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