Could Google render all possible television pictures and take over the industry?
I am working within the television industry. When going from analogue to digital equipment we started to treat our content as numbers instead of electrical pulses of different magnitude.
When working with numbers things get more absolute than the analogue electrical pulses. Suddenly it struck me that there actually is a limited number of possible television pictures out there. And, that it would be possible to create a computer program that could render all these pictures.
Have a look at this experiment:
We make a very simple picture. It consist of 4 x 4 pixels and no colour or shades of gray. Just black or white. This picture will contain 4 x 4 = 16 pixels. Since the pixels can be only black or white it is very easy to map it to a binary number containing 16 bits. This is the grid for my very simple picture:
Lets take the number 27030. The binary version of this number is 0110100110010110. Mapped into the 4×4 picture it would look like this:
With pixels instead of numbers it looks like this:
So, the number 27030 is actually a small circle when we show it as a picture instead of a number.
With 16 bits there are 2^16 = 65536 possible ways to combine these bits. So, there are 65536 possible pictures to draw in this frame. If we do a binary count from 0 to 65536 in the frame we will show all the possible pictures.
Everything that you would ever want to see
Now, lets take a standard PAL television picture. It is 720 by 576 pixels. Each pixel consist of 24 bits to be able to draw colors. In total, this gives 720 x 576 x 24 = 9953280 bits in a complete PAL television picture. That leads us to the fact that it is only possible to show 2^9953280 pictures on television in Europe. That’s it. When you have seen all the 2^9953280 pictures you have seen everything that it is possible to see on television. For USA and NTSC the amount of possible pictures are even less:
720 x 480 x 24 = 8294400. For NTSC you have 2^8294400 pictures to play with.
Google takes over the industry
So, Google makes a computer program that renders out all these pictures and store them on hard drives. They make some kind of amazing image search techniques, and let the television industry buy footage. And, maybe end users could buy footage as well. That way we could prevent people like Bob the Millionaire turning into pirates.
Google will have all the pictures to cover all the Olympics that could possibly be arranged and all the pictures to put together every Super Bowl that could ever be played. They would have a bunch of new episodes of Friends and all the seasons of Lost that could ever be produced… They would even have strange pictures like this on file. And I guess I would not have to take any pictures on trips like this one. However, even Google would have trouble placing the pictures on the map like I did. 🙂
Well, if you try to do any calculations on the number 2^9953280 and add the fact that for television you combine a sequence of the pictures and add sound as well, I do not think that people in the television industry should be too afraid. But hey, the experiment is cool!
The following picture contains a square that is 64 x 64 pixels. In it there is a greyscale picture. Unfortunately I do not know enough programming to make this a live experiment. This is the contest: make a web based program that will “count” each time this page is loaded and show a new picture of the possible pictures that can be rendered in the 64 x 64 area:
At some point there will be a picture that is funny, beautiful, horrible, pornographic, ugly, nice… A picture of you… Yes, everything that you would ever want to see. The code for that program will be made available here, so that people can add an “Everything!”-image on their page. At some point maybe someone will have a picture that actually show something. At some point, maybe we can make a gallery of rendered pictures. ….or, it will take some billion years before something interesting show up. Anyway, the concept is a little bit interesting.
The amazing Thorolf TÃ¸njum has made a remarkable contibution: Link