Stupid question, right?
Well, right in all practical senses, but if this blog is about anything it is about stretching the limits of thought beyond the expected.
Herein I’d like to convince you that information is totally and completely indestructible.
Imagine a hard disk. A 1TB disk, the normal size today. Full of information. Any information.
Now imagine the ultimate machine of destruction. It’s not a bomb. Nor is it a blender. Nothing close to such toys. It’s a black hole. Yes! Let’s drop the HD into this black hole.
What happens? The black hole sucks the HD towards itself and accellerates it beyond imagination. Furthermore, the poor box stretches like the ultimate spaghetti. Upon entering the point of no return, the Schwarzschild radius, the HD is gone. For good. For zilch. For nil. For nada. You get it.
Ha, ha, ha, you laugh.
Ha, ha, ha, I laugh back at you.
Nothing ever comes out of a black hole, so what happens? Tricky stuff, but laws of nature are laws of nature. Some laws of nature are so strong, that any theory would fail, and they would still hold true.
One such omnipotent law of nature is the second law of thermodynamics, the infamously famous law of entropy. People believe, remember the word, that law of entropy is preserved always and forever. Even in a black hole.
This means that even though the nearly infinite gravity squeezes matter into oblivion in a black hole, and nobody ever knows what happens to the matter within, the information is kept intact.
Your HD might have been bamboozled, as were all the physical bearers of bits, all physical objects, like electrons, magnetically oriented molecules, or any other atoms size like monsterette. However, information was not lost!
Information is the level of order of the observed matter, a very close sibling to entropy. The key here is that even when matter disappears, the order is preserved, and so is entropy and so is information.
Now, how can matter be disentangled from information? Eventually it’s very simple. Matter stays, information moves. Water stays, waves move. Bodies sleep, minds dream.
Information is not matter. Information is how matter behaves. Information is the nature of matter.
The nature of matter is not violated by the black hole, even though the matter is violated.
What happens? An atom that represents a bit, is its representation because of its behaviour, not because of itself. This atom is pulled into the black hole. The pull is a force, and forces are fought back in nature, by counterforces. The atom, however small it might be, exerts this counterpull versus the black hole. The counterpull is caused by the inertia, the atom’s resistance to acceleration. This interaction between the atom and the black hole remains in place until the end. It is also the bridge over which the atom’s bit can be stripped away from the atom before it disappears inside the black hole. Nobody knows what bears this bit inside the black hole, but the belief therein is, see the word again, that whatever is inside the black hole that is not known, but what is known is that information stays there intact.
If it would not, the belief of physics would be broken, and physics would sadly and miserably fail. Which is somewhat miserable in itself, because physics and all modern science is supposedly free of beliefs. And this, my friends, is utterly wrong.
So I believe.
P.S. Where’s your 1TB of data? Lost for you, obviouslly. But not destroyed.