Information defined

I think it was Timothy Ferris who a long time ago pointed out what was then news to me – that the universe consists of matter, energy, and information. That makes sense, I thought, but what the heck is information? (No, I can’t really define matter/energy to my satisfaction either – what it does, yes,what it is, no – but information really has stymied me.) So in Ray Kurzweil’s “The Singularity is Near,” I was happy to find this series of related definitons:

Information is a sequence of data that is meaningful in a process, such as the DNA code of an organism, or the bits in a computer program.

“Noise,” on the other hand, is a random sequence.


Order is information that fits a purpose. The measure of order is a measure of how well the information fits the purpose.

Kurzweil expands on this on p.36, but I find even the barebones above to be helpful.