Although Claude Shannon’s statistical approach to information has made many valuable contributions, it is blind to the functional properties of information. Here we propose a new kind of cybernetic information that we call “control information.” It is defined as the capacity (know how) to control the acquisition, disposition and utilization of matter/energy in “purposive” (cybernetic) processes. We also propose a formalization in terms of the quantity of available energy that can be controlled by a given unit of information in a given context.
From the perspective of the growing theoretical and research literature in the biological sciences on the “progressive” evolution of complex living systems over time, as well as the science of cybernetics (communications and control processes), politics in human societies represents a variation, and elaboration, on a major evolutionary theme. Political processes have played an indispensable functional role in goal-oriented cooperative systems at all “levels” of biological organization, including the evolution of humankind.