Today, the proliferation and variety of digital technology is proof of the power of Turing's ideas. Sometimes it seems there is no limit to what will be encoded and transmitted into the digital universe. It has been said that the computer age will give us everything up to and including world peace and immortality. There are however, limitations.

The basic limitations of Turing's concept are the same as they have always been: the speed of the processor and the length of the tape. Technology is continually pushing both of these forward. We continue to see faster and faster chips with more and more memory. Disk storage also continues to improve so larger codes can be efficiently stored and accessed.

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Another limitation to the usefulness of computers is the need for standard code. Anything that can be coded can be coded in more than one way. For transmitting and distributing media and information, it is best if everyone uses the same code. ASCII is a standard code for text information. Standard codes exist not only for text, but also for pictures, video, voice synthesis software, and many other things. These standards make it possible for the worldwide network to function.

With standard codes for real and powerful computers to decode them, the potential for the computer as a mass communications device is still limited by its ability to transmit information. Computers communicate with each other in various ways, but to pass the large amounts of data in complex files, the process is slow. Bandwidth is the term used to describe the capacity of the communication links between computers. As is the case with other parts of computer technology, the availability of bandwidth is continually increasing. Also, special software allows the size of files to be reduced for transmission. This process is known as compression.

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