The Internet is Weightless


I'm not buying it.

What he measured is not the weight of the information, but the weight
of the medium carrying the information. The same electrons arranged
in a random configuration wouldn't weigh any less would they?

Besides, he just considered the electrons involved in encoding the
information when it's in a memory chip. What about when it's on disk?
How many electrons are involved then? What about when it's on the
wire? I don't know what the numbers are, but I feel confident they're
different. Does that mean the information has different weights
depending on the medium in which it is encoded? It makes no sense to
me to call the measurement the weight of the information if it
changes with the medium.

Suppose the Internet ran on vacuum tubes, which would use many more
electrons to record a bit than solid state capacitors on integrated
chips do. Would that mean that the information weighed more? That
doesn't make sense. If information has weight, it should weigh the
same no matter how it's encoded.

We can also imagine storage devices in the future that will be more
efficient than current capacitors, using fewer electrons to record
each bit. Will that make the information weigh less?

Consider the same information stored in a human brain and in a
computer. Take for example, the word "dog". Based on the argument in
the article, we can compute the weight of the word "dog" when stored
in an electronic memory. I don't know how many electrons would be
involved in storing the same data in my brain, but I bet it wouldn't
be the same number. If it's the same information, it should weigh the
same regardless of medium. The notion of information having weight
seems meaningless to me.

Finally, weight is a function of gravity. If we moved the electrons
from the Earth to the Moon, they would weigh less. Their mass would
remain the same, however. Thus, it would make more sense to measure
the mass of the information (assuming it has some) rather than its
weight. Based on the arguments I've presented above, I would say that
information does not have mass or weight, even though I've read
claims that it does. I'm willing to be convinced if someone can show
me the gap in my thinking.