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Why are patterns so important in human communication? How influential is the distinction between the syntax or structure of patterns and their semantics? Our understanding of patterns of electromagnetic energy began with Michael Faraday. He was a key figure in the development of the electrical machines and his influence led to the work of James Clerk Maxwell and the subsequent development of the telephone, wireless radio and modern telecommunications equipment. Crucial inventions were the ‘valve’, the transistor and the integrated circuit. The latter is present in all modern electronic equipment such as mobile/cell phones and computers and it is there we find the patterns of electromagnetic energy. How do digital electronics and computers work with those patterns? Should we be excited or worried about the ever-increasing power of the patterns of artificial intelligence and ‘big data’?