digital

Digital usually refers to processing of information in terms of discrete units of data. In its most basic form, digital data can be expressed as a series of the digits 0 and 1.

Digital data is often used as a synonym for binary data, the smallest unit of which is the bit (which is short for “binary digit”). A bit can only take the value 0 or 1. A string of digital data can thus be described as a sequence of bits such as 01101010. Not all digital data is binary, though. Hexadecimal code, for example, uses 16 different digits: the numbers 0 to 9 and the letters A to F.

Digital is often contrasted with analog, which refers to continuously variable physical quantities. The difference is easily explained by looking at different types of clocks:

  • A digital clock displays the time in discrete numbers (digits).
  • The hour hand of an analog clock performs a continuous rotation movement.

The question of whether physical reality (PMR) itself is at the root discrete or continuous goes to the heart of the My Big TOE model.

In our everyday perception, the world obviously seems continuous: when looking at things such as plants, rocks or the objects in our home, for example, we can’t discern any “pixels” like those we see when watching a movie on an old TV or computer screen.

But the fact that reality appears to be smooth and continuous to the naked eye doesn’t mean it can’t be chunky and discrete at the microscopic level. Proponents of digital physics suggest that our universe may best be modeled as a gigantic digital computation, and My Big TOE agrees with that idea.

This leads us to another important aspect of the term: when we say something is “digital”, we usually mean to imply that computer technology is used to produce and process the relevant data, for instance when we speak of digital cameras or digital pianos.

Thus, when My Big TOE metaphorically describes our physical universe as a digital computation, this is meant to help us imagine that our consciousness creates our multisensory experience of the world (in terms of sight, smell, sound, taste and touch) from a digital data stream that it receives from the Larger Consciousness System (more precisely, from The Big Computer).

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