Energy is is the underlying measure of all activities even if it cannot capture all the nuance.

Smil, Vaclav. Energy and Civilization: A History. Revised. 1994. Reprint, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2017.


  • What is the cost of biological sensing, cognition, intelligence?
  • What are the energetic costs of culture and knowledge?
    • Acquiring
    • Transmitting
    • Retaining
    • Searching
    • Applying
    • Managing
    • Erasing

Technological Artificial Intelligence (AI) Footprint

Tamburrini, Guglielmo. “The AI Carbon Footprint and Responsibilities of AI Scientists.” Philosophies 7, no. 1 (2022): 4.

Schwartz, Roy, Jesse Dodge, Noah A. Smith, and Oren Etzioni. “Green AI.” Communications of the ACM 63, no. 12 (2020): 54–63.

Biological Intelligence and Energy

Fidelman, Uri. “Intelligence and the Brain’s Energy Consumption: What Is Intelligence?” Personality and Individual Differences 14, no. 1 (1993): 283–86.

Life produces order to dissipate energy quicker (cf. nail). As a form of order, "nervous systems are for maximizing the global rate of entropy production."

Fultot, Martin, P. Adrian Frazier, M. T. Turvey, and Claudia Carello. ‘What Are Nervous Systems For?’ Ecological Psychology 31, no. 3 (2019): 218–34.

Organisational Intelligence

Intelligence capital

Knowledge as management

Bratianu, Constantin, and Daniel Andriessen. “Knowledge as Energy: A Metaphorical Analysis.” In Proceedings of the 9th European Conference on Knowledge Management, edited by Deogratias Harorimana and David Watkins, 75–82. Reading: Academic Publishing, 2008.

The entropic intellectual capital model

Bratianu, Constantin, and Ivona Orzea. “The Entropic Intellectual Capital Model.” Knowledge Management Research & Practice 11, no. 2 (2013): 133–41.

Costs of cognition

Zénon, Alexandre, Oleg Solopchuk, and Giovanni Pezzulo. “An Information-Theoretic Perspective on the Costs of Cognition.” Neuropsychologia, Cognitive Effort, 123 (2019): 5–18.

Human cognition as optimisation of limited resources

Lieder, Falk, and Thomas L. Griffiths. “Resource-Rational Analysis: Understanding Human Cognition as the Optimal Use of Limited Computational Resources.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 43 (2020).