Friday, February 11, 2011

How much information is there in the World..?

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"Hey .. I have 500Gb of movies in my pc..!", "Hey I have a collection of more than 1000 books at my home..!" now, a single person has 5ooGb of information only of movies...! Just hold that thought and think how much information would be there in the whole world...?!? Don't tell me its impossible to calculate, because a study appearing on Feb 10 in Science Express calculates the World's total technological capacity.How much information humankind is able to store,communicate and compute.

So lets find out what's the study say.... Prepare yourself for some mind blowing facts ..!!
  • Looking at both digital memory and analog devices, the researchers calculate that humankind is able to store at least 295 exabytes of information. And FYI, exabyte is the number with 20 zeros in it..!!
In other words, if a single star is a bit of information, that's a galaxy of information for every person in the world. That's 315 times the number of grains of sand in the world. But it's still less than one percent of the information that is stored in all the DNA molecules of a human being.
  • 2002 could be considered the beginning of the digital age, the first year worldwide digital storage capacity overtook total analog capacity. As of 2007, almost 94 percent of our memory is in digital form.
  • In 2007, humankind successfully sent 1.9 zettabytes of information through broadcast technology such as televisions and GPS. That's equivalent to every person in the world reading 174 newspapers every day.
  • On two-way communications technology, such as cell phones, humankind shared 65 exabytes of information through telecommunications in 2007, the equivalent of every person in the world communicating the contents of six newspapers every day.
  • In 2007, all the general-purpose computers in the world computed 6.4 x 10^18 instructions per second, in the same general order of magnitude as the number of nerve impulses executed by a single human brain. Doing these instructions by hand would take 2,200 times the period since the Big Bang.
  • From 1986 to 2007, the period of time examined in the study, worldwide computing capacity grew 58 percent a year, ten times faster than the United States' GDP.
  • Telecommunications grew 28 percent annually, and storage capacity grew 23 percent a year.

The lead author Martin Hilbert of the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism says, "These numbers are impressive, but still miniscule compared to the order of magnitude at which nature handles information.Compared to nature, we are but humble apprentices. However, while the natural world is mind-boggling in its size, it remains fairly constant. In contrast, the world's technological information processing capacities are growing at exponential rates."


  1. Mind blowing.. I always thought, the amount of information we store grows exponentially.. I probably is still true.. What i'm worried about is the kids of the next generation.. I wonder if they could handle the information available to them.. haha..

  2. that's true indeed.... but v must not forget the fact that along with the size of information, the technology that handles it also grows exponentially..:)


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