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DEPARTMENT OF Ingegneria Elettrica e dell' Informazione "Maurizio Scarano"

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The iron machines still exist, but they obey the orders of weightless bits

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Published at 10:58 of the day 13/11/2013

Today every branch of science seems intent on demonstrating that the world is supported by the most minute entities, such as the messages of DNA, the impulses of neurons, and quarks, and neutrinos wandering through space since the beginning of time ...

Then we have computer science. It is true that software cannot exercise its powers of lightness except through the weight of hardware. But it is the software that gives the orders, acting on the outside world and on machines that exist only as functions of software and evolve so that they can work out ever more complex programs. The second industrial revolution, unlike the first, does not present us with such crushing images as rolling mills and molten steel, but with `bits' in a flow of information traveling along circuits in the form of electronic impulses. The iron machines still exist, but they obey the orders of weightless bits.

from Italo Calvino's Six Memos for the Next Millennium (Lightness)


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