|Rajesh Kasturirangan||Jul 15, 2012|
Organisms have to eat to survive; they need useful energy to maintain their activity. Starting with Maxwell’s demon, we know that information can be used to turn energy into work. The demon plays the role of a gatekeeper, letting in desirable elements and keeping undesirable elements away.
For a living organism, information isn’t enough: the information must come with a stable, identifiable value. Prey must be labeled as prey and predator must be labeled as predator. To put it another way, the demon must know what is desirable before he can play the bouncer’s role.
Desirability and value are cognitive in nature even when done by bacteria. All living beings are demon’s; they have to know what to ingest and what not do. What they ingest can be food or genetic material. There are several ways to design the perception of value: one can invest in sensors or let random mutation take its course, but however one does it, there is an invariant link between survival and the cognizance of value.
A borganism is any living being that is also a cognitive creature. Our hypothesis is that all living beings are borganisms. If so, our studies of cognition should start with the simplest organisms such as bacteria, where studies can be carried in a dish and hypotheses tested and rejected quickly and then move to more complex creatures and eventually studying humans, which will invert the usual study of the mind, which is focused on the nervous systems of complex creatures.