Bit bit bit


‘Where he does the bit, the protagonist of our computer society come from? If my friends at the Meeting had asked me to organize an exhibition on information, I should have had nohesitation, I should have replied: -“Sorry, thats not my line”, but that title “bit bit bit”, represented a challenge. This little big idea which has revolutionized our technological scene made me curious, it astonished me in the way we often ere astonished by things which, though very simple, are capable of generating tremendously complex realities. This title, “bit bit bit”, so simple and yet so interesting. Bit: binary digit. The elementary alphabet of the computer reduces the level of descriptive reality to dramatic simplicity. Only two values exist: zero and one. Who knows what first gaveLeibnitz the idea to use this binary numeric system? Looking back through my old school books I see that Leibnitz, who I always remembered as the inventor of the infinitesimal calculus, was first of all a philosopher. But let’s get back to the exhibition: The first part will centre on the bit, in all its forms, without forgetting that the bit was born “travelling”, i.e., it was not born as a unit of information stored in a computer, but as a unit of exchanged information. For more than a hundred years, from the telegraph onwards, the wonders of modern technology have been related to communication systems and today too, when the unchallenged king of technological innovation is the computer, communication (between computers or by means of computers) has again jumped to the forefront. Just think of the use (or abuse) of words like “information technology”. I am convinced that though computers have become as popular among youngsters as model trains once were, very few really know how they work. A part of the exhibition has consequently been set aside to this didactic task: an ABC of the computer, an answer to those questions we are often reluctant to ask and which are often difficult to explain. In the “etabeta” room you don’t even need to ask, you can learn by playing with bits. The last part of the exhibition is dedicated to artificial intelligence: a subject of great topicality and interest. Just think how the retina of the eye is made: about 50 million cones and rods, minute sense organs whose data is elaborated “in real time” – several dozen times per second – by our brain. The problem of sight is a problem which artificial intelligence has not yet overcome and represents an example of the current limits of computer technology. To know that computers carry out operations quite beyond our capability is of interest to us, but to discover that despite modern breakthroughs in information technology, no machine yet exists which can do what a child’s brain can do, comforts us. It is good to know that we still have a role to play in this bit-rife world.’


23 Agosto 1986 - 30 Agosto 1986


Exhibitions Meeting Exhibitions