Bit space

The distinction between atoms and bits is well made in a story Nicholas Negroponte recounts in his book Being Digital1:

I recently visited the headquarters of one of Americas top five integrated circuit manufacturers. I was asked to sign in and, in the process, was asked whether I had a laptop computer with me. Of course I did. The receptionist asked for the model and serial number and for its value. "Roughly, between one and two million dollars," I said. Oh , that cannot be, sir," she replied. "What do you mean? Let me see it." 1 showed her my old PowerBook and she estimated its value at $2,000. She wrote down that amount and 1 was allowed to enter the premises. The point is that while the atoms were not worth that much, the bits were almost priceless.

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