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While this process can be applied to almost any type of information, this conversion process occurs through very specific technical mechanisms and requires specific technical infrastructures that alter the original signal itself. As Negropone (1995: 14) describes, “digitizing a signal is to take samples of it, which, if closely spaced, can be used to play a seemingly perfect replica.” Yet sampling, by definition, means selecting some aspects of an analog signal and rejecting others.

In the digital world, things are there or not there, ‘on’ or ‘off’.

While some have traced digitization as a form of communication back to light semaphores (Winston, 1998), a more narrow definition locates the origins of the concept in the development of binary numbers.

Some identify the foundations of digitization in the late 17 century and the work of philosopher Gottried Leibniz, who completed initial work on binary number systems (Vogelsang, 2010: 7).

A bit can interact with any other bit, regardless of “the forms that were initially transformed into digits, or what the digits represent when accessed by the end-user” (Flew, 9).

Yet, the universality of digital information requires that it be stripped of any non-essential “additional information” (Dretske, 1982: 137), or of any “intrinsic redundancies and repetitions” (Negroponte, 1995: 16).