Scientists have discover a "missing law" of nature that could explain the evolution of various systems in the universe, as described in a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The "law of increasing functional information" proposes that all evolving phenomena are shaped by natural processes that prioritize important functions, such as stability and novelty.
This prioritization leads to the development of systems with increasing order and complexity, affecting everything from stars becoming chemically enriched over time to the biological complexity of lifeforms on Earth.
This innovative law bridges the gap between science and philosophy, shedding light on why the universe is filled with diverse and complex systems.
It emerged from discussions between scientists Michael Wong and Robert Hazen, who have long pondered the existence of a "missing law" that could explain the emergence of new configurations in natural systems.
The study identifies three key characteristics of evolving systems: static persistence (long-term stability), dynamic persistence (ability to produce diverse variations), and novelty generation (favouring systems that invent new functions).
These characteristics collectively contribute to an increase in functional information over time, constituting a "time-asymmetric" process.
While the second law of thermodynamics explains the tendency of closed systems to move toward equilibrium, this proposed law complements existing laws of nature without conflict.
It offers a new perspective on the richness and complexity observed in the universe.
The research suggests that evidence supporting this law could be found on Saturn's moon Titan, in the development of modern human societies, or in the field of artificial intelligence (AI).
Understanding how information influences physical systems, including AI, may be pivotal in comprehending the AI revolution's impact on society.