Got bits?

I haven’t really thought about our world the way the authors of Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital Explosion suggest we all do. Remember the days of TV and flipping through different channels, and how TV stations fought over these channels? Or the reel-tape archives at libraries that required special bulky viewers, or the days of fax machines? Well, all of that old technology has been replaced by bits – the tiny “on” and “off” memory states that today define everything around us. TV stations no longer fight for channels, but wage wars about ownership of pixels (made up from bits) on our TV screens. Libraries store all of their information in long sequences of bits that are accessible from anywhere in the world, and fax machines are plain unreliable because they can’t match the perfect replication quality of bits.  Bits are: perfect, plenty, powerful, and here for ever. They seem so simple that often we misinterpret and misunderstand their meaning. After all, none of us have ever seen or touched the bit. At least I don’t know of anyone who has. Have you got bit?

to be continued…

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