Samstag, 5. Februar 2011

Curious about Binary and Society

Yesterday I talked to a friend and tried to make him understand binary. He needs this because he is attending school again for his new Job. After hours of explaining him why and how binary is used ne finaly gave up(He is more a creativ guy, drawing, painting, making music etc.) shouting : "Can't I just use my hands like when I was a little learning the decimal sytem?"

Then I realised it. After years of remembering the pattern of ones and zeros I forgot that it is possible and a very good way to explain binary.(stupid me :P)

In the hand method(wait..what?) the thumb is the one, the index fingers is two, the middle finger 4, the ring finger is 8 and the pinky has the value of 16. Adding the values of the Fingers gives you the number(as you already know^^). Using both hands you could count up to 1.024, a huge difference to the normal count up to ten with decimal.

So now to my real question:
In Wikipedia I found that a system like binary was discovered many times ago, the oldest to be found was in India, developed 2300 years ago. That starts me thinking...what would have happend if the europeans discovered it by the time and used it and abolish the decimal system? Would Society be significantly be changed? Would mankind have been developed faster? If we would, would it make our society better ,because of the technological advantages, or would it be worse, because of the monachy which made the world unable to work together and the technological development which would give us the deadliest weapons a lot earlier(the atom bomb in the 15th century?)?

In my opinion the mankind would have developed faster. Computer would have been developed earlier and thus the technological developement would be quicker. I think binary could have safed us 200 years and remembering Moor's law we would have had passed the speed of light in computers about 80 Years ago.

Yes I have a optimistic view of life ;)


  1. Interesting thoughts! But I doubt mankind as a whole would have developed faster, there are too many divisions about systems that are being used. Just look at miles and kilometers, pounds and kilograms. The kilo system seems way more logical, yet it is ignored by many. There are many economic issues playing into it, I'm still convinced Video2000 was better than VHS, but if it's not promoted, it will not prevail.
    Although, generally I'm optimistic as well!

  2. I was always told there were 10 types of people: Those who understood binary, and those who didn't.

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  4. you know if aliens ever use 2 characters consecutively to describe something chances are it's binary they're 0's and 1's are the same just different characters.

  5. Hans Kruger puts up a good point. Imo we should start a drive towards a more uniform method of measurements.
    Its always so irritating watching a car show and they speakin in Miles whereas i work in Km's
    But some interesting food for thought :)

  6. I love binary, it just sounds so awkward contning it, like at 10 do you say two or ten?
    Took me a second to figure it, lol