Perfect Imperfection

Common misconception: Digital copies are “perfect.”
  • Whereas the process of copying does not suffer degradation, the digital copies, like the original digital file, are still only approximations of the natural object. What actually is copied perfectly in a digital file is the binary representation, including any flaws or loss through digitization. This also assumes the process of copying is careful. If not, error can be introduced, causing an “imperfect” digital copy.


To see how well you understand the perfect imperfection of digital copies, answer the following questions as best you can.

1) What is perfectly copied in a digital copy?


2) Which copy is most like the original? Why?

  • A digital image sent from one phone to another
  • A digital image printed on an inkjet printer