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    Life in Code and Digits: When Shannon met Turing

    Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA 2017)

    London, UK, 11 - 13 July 2017


    Jonathan P. Bowen & Tula Giannini



    Claude Shannon (1916-2001) is regarded as the father of information theory. Alan Turing (1912-1954) is known as the father of computer science. In the year 1943, Shannon and Turing were both at Bell Labs in New York City, although working on different projects. They had discussions together, including about Turing’s “Universal Machine,” a type of computational brain. Turing seems quite surprised that in a sea of code and computers, Shannon envisioned the arts and culture as an integral part of the digital revolution - a digital DNA of sorts. What was dreamlike in 1943, is today a reality, as digital representation of all media, accounts for millions of “cultural things” and massive music collections. The early connections that Shannon made between the arts, information, and computing, intuit the future that we are experiencing today. This paper considers foundational aspects of the digital revolution, the current state, and the possible future. It examines how digital life is increasingly becoming part of real life for more and more people around the world, especially with respect to the arts, culture, and heritage.


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