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World generated 161 exabytes of digital information

Don't know where we put it
Tue Mar 06 2007, 09:19
BEAN COUNTERS at IDC have worked out that the world has created 161 billion gigabytes or 161 exabytes, of digital information last year.

To get to this figure they added up all the photos, videos, e-mails, web pages, instant messages, phone calls and other digital content which they think is on the Ne and divided by their shoe size. They assumed that on average, each digital file gets replicated three times.

Then in a bid to explain what that means in physical terms, IDC described this amount of data as being 12 stacks of books that reach from the Earth to the sun, we assume that these are not made of paper. Another concept was that this amount of data could be stored on two billion of the biggest iPods on the market.

The amount of data is growing. Bean counters at the University of California, Berkeley, worked out that the world produced five exabytes in 2003. However that included non-electronic information, such as analog radio broadcasts or printed office memos, and tallied how much space that would consume if digitised.

One of the reasons for the increase in data is the profusion of surveillance cameras and the demands of governments to force corporate data retention, IDC thinks.

The supply of data technically outstrips the supply of places to put it and it is just as well that someone somewhere deletes something occasionally. It is also probably just as well that the cost of storage has dropped. µ


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