Will Everything Be Digital?

What happens in a world in which atoms are replaced by bits? In which everything that was wired becomes wireless, and vice versa?

The important thing to remember is that bits are bits. In the digital world there are no movies or magazines or pieces of music. There are just 1s and 0s, for which we did not even have a name until 1946 when Princeton statistician John Tukey concatenated the words binary and digit into the term bit.

For the next 25 years, bits were of interest only to a few specialized members of the scientific community. But of late, bits have become important to everybody, because we can represent anything as bits--anything. In the not-too-distant future, we'll be able to describe the...

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