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Entropy and Intelligence

  1. Dec 26, 2008 #1
    I was sort of thinking of how intelligence fits in with entropy. I didn't fully read how the issue of Maxwell's Demon was resolved, so I'm not really sure of the whole picture. Also, I am not denying the second law of thermodynamics (just in case this assumption appears somewhere in the middle of this text). Here is what I was thinking:

    There is a simple system of particles in a box, in which the particles are moving about. However, let us say that a few of the particles were intelligent or had a conscience. They then decide that they don't want to move about and instead they pile up to one of the corners of the box. This technically denies the tendency of organization that entropy describes. However, for the particles to do this (move to a corner of the box), they must expend additional energy, which may somehow cover up for the "negentropy" (reverse entropy) and show that the system in its entirety followed the direction of entropy as the net outcome (thus showing that macroscopic systems have a tendency to follow entropy). But altogether, the particles were able to think for themselves, thus they did not have to follow mechanistic tendencies. Wouldn't this imply that intelligence/thought might be a process of "negentropy?"
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 26, 2008 #2


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    It's the same as Maxwell's demon - the inteligent particles would do work to segregate into one corner. The entropy needed to generate this energy more than makes up for the entropy loss.
  4. Dec 26, 2008 #3
    oh...so that apparently was the Maxwell's Demon case...but nonetheless...it did not disprove intelligence to be a process of reverse entropy.
  5. Dec 26, 2008 #4
    Maxwell said that the demon would distinguish hot particles from cold particles. The only way that it could do it is, for example, by releasing EM waves and see energy changes as they reflect from the particle. That process would increase entropy (the whole system would get warmed up by the waves) way more than anything. That's just my perception though, because I don't believe in any connection of information and entropy.
  6. Dec 27, 2008 #5
    Still...its only taking into account entropy for the overall process. Wouldn't it be possible for a case that individual processes (that sum up to the whole) may follow "negentropy," while the overall process follows entropy...such might be the case for when you enter quantum scales...or am I missing something?
  7. Dec 27, 2008 #6
    Better to think of intelligence as the behaviour of a complex computer. Unless the memory is infinite, some data will eventually need to be erased (an irreversible process).
    Not done the math? (Consider if the system were made of large heavy components.)
    Like freezing water?
  8. Dec 27, 2008 #7
    Yup...like freezing water.
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