Information, evolution and “error-friendliness”

Research paper by Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, Christine von Weizsäcker

Indexed on: 01 Nov '98Published on: 01 Nov '98Published in: Biological Cybernetics


Information can be conceived as being composed of two complementary components: novelty and confirmation. Whenever either of the two is zero, information is zero. Genetic information too requires both novelty and confirmation. Evolution can be seen as the history of diversification. Selection alone reduces diversity. Recessivity appears to serve as a mechanism to protect diversity against selection. So does the geographical and behavioural “separation” of species. Both recessivity and separation can be seen as “error-friendly”, a broader concept that is supportive of diversity, learning and further evolution. The principle should also be obeyed in technological systems.