> The problem is you're going to apply a number of transformations, and then rounding errors accumulate.
It's not just rounding errors. If you're dealing with an image using a wide colour gamut, you need the extra precision to properly represent the large colour space. Posterization will result if using 8-bit components with a wide colour gamut.
> A carefully mastered and dithered cd is capable of totally adequate sound quality. but its underlying format, 16bits at 44k1 sampling rate, is woefully inadequate for studio use.
It's important to distinguish between what is adequate for source material and temporary/intermediate results, versus the final output. For the latter, 8-bit sRGB (or CD-Audio) is indeed adequate most of the time. But if you pull that into an editor you may soon have problems from posterization (lack of precision), out-of-gamut colours, blown highlights, lost shadow detail, low resolution, etc.