Is information actually information without an observer to differentiate, measure and acknowledge that fact? One of the great conundrums of subatomic physics has been that of the role of an observer (or of observation-like events) in the collapse of the probability wave associated with matter into an incomplete or partially-defined state of matter. The act of measurement and observation is itself the catalyst and inflection point by which coherent or identifiable properties of matter emerge.
While there remains extensive debate on the role of observers in the creation or participatory observation of material entities, collapsing probability waves and quantum indeterminacy have been demonstrated to manifest to at least the level of atoms (and possibly beyond), the role of the observer in the active production of reality remains deeply mysterious. If reality is indeed deeply inflected with a requirement for observers (or observer-like events), then it is quite conceivable that the path through which that reality might unfold over (for instance – Cosmological) time might be that which leads to the production of observers (and observation-like events) at greater probability and eventually to higher degrees of resolution or refinement.
In this sense, that is – not strictly Anthropocentric but perhaps with less hubris caste as “Argocentric” (after the many-eyed, all-seeing giant Argos Panoptes in Greek mythology), every process and possible or probable path of matter and energy is always already biased in some sense towards the production of observer-like events and, eventually, of observers. The reflexive and recursive self-generation of the material circumstances from which conscious observers eventually emerge may be an inevitability within a Universe so finely-tuned and predisposed or logically oriented towards the necessity of observation-like events.
The Universe is in this way plausibly predisposed to the emergence of observers. The form or material nature of those observers may (or may not) be constrained in some way by an internal, not entirely transparent and yet to be determined logic. The arrival of conscious observers in this view is not so much a miraculous surprise as a probabilistic inevitability hard-coded into the symmetries and logic of matter and physics.
Returning to this topic much later (27/07/19) it occurs to me that some of my assertions concerning observers or observation-like events may be a little fuzzy and inaccurate. The Universe may be predisposed to the emergence of observation-like events but this does not lighten the complex burden of characterising consciousness or self-awareness.
As an emergent meta-property or abstraction of materially self-organising information and energy-processing systems, consciousness remains deeply problematic. I have some ideas regarding autonomously self-propagating systems and optimally-efficient or concise algorithmic compression but finding time to develop and record these concepts is proving to be difficult. Such is life, I imagine…