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Archive for September 22nd, 2012

By Bob Clark

The old saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words, but I wonder if that really covers the full breadth of data it can store. When we stare at a painting or glance at a photograph in the newspaper, how much information do we absorb and process at any given moment, ranging from the aesthetics of the piece, the social circumstances surrounding it, and our own personal emotional response? Could you fit the human reaction to any given piece of art onto a solid-state hard drive? How many bytes would you need to unravel the myriad of feelings any work of expression can produce, even in a broken, snapshot state? And what about the intellectual reactions– can artificial computations match the speed of human thought, unconsciously criss-crossing all sorts of impressions and considerations in order to decode the various possibilities inherent in a single image? Could that computer then synthesize inspiration? If you fed a single screen-cap into a powerful enough computer, what are the chances that it could backwards engineer something like motion-picture it sprang from? If that computer’s name was Osamu Tezuka, at least it would be on the right track.

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