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A Mathematical Theory of Life: Unpredictability and Informability
Hassan Ajami
2019 / 10 / 21
It is possible to mathematize life in the following way: life = unpredictability x informability. According to this mathematical theory of life, life is analyzed in terms of unpredictability and informability, such that life is equal to unpredictability multiplied by informability. Unpredictability implies that there are no laws of nature determining the behaviors´-or--function-s of a certain existent, while informability means the ability of being informed and hence the ability to process and exchange information.
One basic virtue of the mathematical theory of life is that it is successful in distinguishing between what is alive and what isn’t. For example, according to the mathematical theory of life, humans, animals and plants are alive because they are unpredictable and informable, while stones, chairs and tables are inanimate objects because they are predictable and not informable. Since life = unpredictability x informability, it follows that only those entities (such as humans and animals) which are unpredictable and informable are in fact alive, while those which are predictable and not informable (such as stones and tables) aren’t.
We can’t predict the behavior of animals and human beings, exactly as we can’t predict how plants will grow (such as how many branches a certain plant will have). But we can predict that this chair´-or-table in our classroom will stay precisely where it is if no one, for example, moves it. This is why life should be analyzed in terms of unpredictability, as the mathematical theory of life does. And we can inform humans, animals and/or plants how to behave´-or--function- through linguistic communication´-or-through manipulating their genes, while we can’t inform stones, tables and chairs how to behave´-or--function-. This is why life should also be analyzed in terms of informability, exactly as the mathematical theory of life does.
The mathematical theory of life has philosophically interesting conclusions. For example, if life = unpredictability x informability, then life will be maximum when unpredictability and informability are maximized and vice versa, otherwise life will be minimum. Hence, the mathematical theory of life implies that life is a matter of degree, such that certain beings could be less´-or-more alive. Another example (related to the previous) is that this theory implies and thus accounts for the fact that there are different kinds of life.
Since life = unpredictability x informability, it mathematically follows that there is a sort of life consisting of maximum unpredictability and minimum informability, and there is a second kind of life consisting of maximum informability and minimum unpredictability. It also follows that there is a third kind of life which consists of maximum unpredictability as well as maximum informability, in addition to a fourth sort of life consisting of minimum unpredictability as well as minimum informability, and so on. All of this shows that the mathematical theory of life is successful in accounting for the existence of different kinds of life, leading to the conclusion that it is an acceptable and accurate theory.
In addition, since life = unpredictability x informability, and given that informability is the ability to be informed and hence it implies the ability to process and exchange information, it follows that living entities are those which are able to process and exchange information. This shows that the mathematical theory of life is successful in accounting for the fact that living organisms are those capable of processing and exchanging information, leading this theory to have a successful explanatory power.
Further, living organisms possess genes because otherwise they wouldn’t be capable of processing and exchanging information (given that genes are sets of information which are capable of being processed and exchanged). And living organisms are capable of processing and exchanging information because life = unpredictability x informability (given that informability implies the ability of processing and exchanging information). Therefore, living organisms have genes in virtue of the fact that life is equal to informability multiplied by unpredictability. In other words, life consists of genes (which are sets of information) because life is informability, exactly as it is unpredictability.
Life is characterized by unpredictability and informability. This is why living beings are unpredictable and capable of being informed in addition to being able to process and exchange information. If life weren’t unpredictability and informability, then it would be a mystery why living beings are unpredictable and informable.
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