Some pretty smart people have gotten the notion that life opposes entropy, that it creates order and retards the heat death of the universe. That's not even remotely true. I suspect they have a weak grasp of entropy's relation to 'order' otherwise they would know how completely illusory the perception of life creating order is.
InformationYou see, information, entropy, order, these are all words that mean exactly the same thing. They are physically identical things. Entropy is information. It's just that entropy is the kind of plentiful low-level information that the human sensory and nervous systems screen out as irrelevant. Our brains blank it out. Order meanwhile is also information, just high level - it's the kind of sparse information our brains find meaningful to watch out for.
Entropy is basically the physical universe's spam. Energy is the universe's hard drive capacity. And information is the sum total of what's on the hard drive. Gibbs free energy is the drive's free space, which you can move around from place to place at the cost of sacrificing some of it to hold more spam. And 'order' is user data.
Now to understand the whole thing you have to realize that information can never, ever be erased from the physical universe. Stephen Hawking thought you could in extreme circumstances and he was overwhelmingly, stupidly wrong. So when junk accumulates, it uses up hard drive capacity forever (ie, it obeys the second law of thermodynamics). At some point, all the space becomes unusable because it's filled with spam (the universe suffers heat
And on the hard drive are life forms (AI) that create an enormous amount of junk data (called "heat" or "entropy") just to maintain a few bits of what they consider user data. Every time they "erase" a bit of user data, it becomes a gigabyte worth of junk data. But they're dumb so they're pleased. And it's not like they have much choice since they don't know how to use the computer too well (they're
(Negentropy is just any mechanism that destroys information. So far, there aren't any.)
The upshot of all this is that living systems create megabits per second in order to preserve a few tens of bits of information around. The notion that the tens of bits are more important than the megabits each second is pure illusion and completely ridiculous.
A bunch of RAM operating at 3 gigahertz (ie, ridiculously fast) consuming 1 watt of power will pump 80 gigabits into the environment as heat. So the first question is just how much RAM would 1 watt power? Would it power 10 gigabytes? Maybe. Naaah.
The second issue is that if the average lifespan of data in the memory is 1 second, then the memory pumps out 10 gigabytes per third of a nanosecond * 3 billion = 28 exabytes per second, in order to sustain 10 gigabytes. Or if you divide both sides of the equation, you get that for every single byte of order, RAM pumps out 3 gigabytes of entropy.
The math just doesn't work people.
Biological systems use a lot less energy (ie, waste free energy by crapping lots of useless information on it), but then again, computer hardware uses up zero energy on "just living". Computers don't have digestive systems or musculatures. And electric turbines are more than 30% efficient while electric motors are more than 90% efficient. Both of those numbers are way, way above what biological bodies are able to achieve. Photosynthesis is only about 5% efficient.
But I don't have to guess. Here are the numbers for the human brain,
10^16 operations per second is generous. 20 watts is about average. So for every single bit operation the human brain performs, it pumps out half a million bits.