Ethics, Information, and Our “It-from-Bit” Universe

Author: Terrell Ward Bynum
Southern Connecticut State University

The essence of the Computer Revolution is found in the nature of a computer itself. What is revolutionary about computers is logical malleability.
James H. Moor 1985

It from bit . . . every particle, every field of force, even the spacetime continuum itself . . . derives its function, its meaning, its very existence from [bits].
John Archibald Wheeler 1990

Abstract: Using information technology, humans have brought about the “Information Revolution,” which is changing the world faster and more profoundly than ever before, and generating an enormous number of ethical “policy vacuums”. How is this possible? An answer is suggested by ideas from James Moor regarding “logical malleability,” in his classic paper “What is Computer Ethics?” (1985) The present essay combines Moor’s ideas with the hypothesis that all physical entities — including spacetime and the universe as a whole — are dynamic data structures. To show the usefulness of taking such an approach, in both physics and in computer ethics, a suggested “it-from-bit” model of the universe is briefly sketched, and relevant predictions are offered about the future of computer and information ethics.