The Bit Player
86 min • Business & Technology, History • 2019
In a blockbuster paper in 1948, Claude Shannon introduced the world to the “bit” and laid the foundation for the information age. His ideas ripple through nearly every aspect of modern life, influencing such diverse fields as communication, linguistics, genetics, computing, cryptography, neuroscience, artificial intelligence and cosmology. But when interviewed in the 1980s, Shannon was more interested in showing off the gadgets he’d constructed - juggling robots, a Rubik’s Cube solving machine, a wearable computer to win at roulette, a unicycle without pedals, a flame-throwing trumpet - than rehashing the past. Mixing contemporary interviews, archival film, animation and dialogue drawn from interviews conducted with Shannon himself, this film tells the story of an overlooked genius who revolutionized the world, but never lost his childlike curiosity. By Mark A. Levinson, director of the award-winning film, Particle Fever.