[ExI] introduction to extropy

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Wed Apr 22 20:56:54 UTC 2015

Hi Kuudes!

kuudes <kuudes at leijuvakaupunki.fi> , 22/4/2015 5:47 PM:

What is extropy? I think I have run into something, which relates to a system having capability of creating entropy in future, and also I have read the Wissner-Gross paper (dspace.mit.edu/openaccess-disseminate/1721.1/79750) on entropic force. In general, I feel somewhat confused on these concepts. What should I read and is it feasible for me to try to learn these things? Are these concepts related to the area of the interest of this list or some general community?

I don't think so, at least directly. These papers are playing with entropic forces that generate useful "smart" behaviour because the setup is somewhat particular.

I think the original extropy idea, as something that resists or reduces entropy while increasing complexity, is more akin to open non-equilibrium thermodynamic systems. Think of Chaissons entropy rate density (http://www.informationphilosopher.com/solutions/scientists/chaisson/) or the various attempts in the 90s to formulate a theory of complex, adaptive systems. We see how biological evolution, by dissipating energy and increasing external entropy, can produce not just ordered and self-maintaining systems (autopoiesis), but also a wide diversity of systems that seem to accumulate complexity or even invent new ways of evolving. 

In the end extropy is more of a metaphor than something measurable or actual. But there may be interesting possibilities when one takes it seriously as a thing for a while. 

Anders Sandberg, Future of Humanity Institute Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University
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