What real world objects and experiences can be represented in binary code, and thereby manipulated by simple machines? At first, computers were mostly used for math problems that required a lot of computation. We have learned to encode more and more things that exist in our physical experience so that they can be manipulated by computers.

Code Basics!

Get Background on Codes from this Site.

A basic example of how information is coded is the ASCII code for the alphanumerical characters. ASCII stands for American Standard Code for Information Interchange. It is the standard code used for converting the symbols on the keyboard into binary form.

The encoding of images into binary form is often accomplished using a grid system. Each square on the grid is called a pixel. Once a black and white picture is divided into pixels, it is a simple matter to encode it into binary form. For a more detailed, higher quality image, one must have more pixels in the grid, meaning more information and a longer binary string.

Methods for encoding many types of things have been developed. Sophisticated CAD (computer aided design) programs represent buildings. CDs and DVDs reproduce music and movies perfectly. Flight simulator programs represent piloting aircraft in different situations. Real sports are encoded as computer games. . . As Turing foresaw, a great many things could be processed by one simple machine.

It is speculated that more life-like human experiences, and perhaps even humans themselves will be encoded. Science fiction writers and movie makers have often played on the concept of a digitally created world that is as real as our own. Even one's mind, memories and consciousness, could one day be encoded and processed by a machine.

Explore the Future!

Read excerpt from Ray Kurzweil's book.