Bits Mean Business

Bits behave strangely. They travel almost simultaneously, and they take almost no space to store. We have to use physical metaphors to make them understandable …

The Internet was designed just to handle just bits, not emails or attachments, which are inventions of software engineers. We couldn’t live without those more intuitive concepts, but they are artifices. Underneath, it’s all just bits.

—Hal Abelson, Ken Ledeen, and Harry Lewis1

The Internet makes data productive, abundant, and—in many ways—priceless. Yet data has no natural scarcity and therefore costs as little as sunlight and ...

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