A STUDY published in Science Journal has divined that the amount of data stored across the globe totals up to 295 exabytes.
The study was reported by the BBC, which estimated that this amount of data compares, roughly, to some 1.2 billion average size hard drives.
This data includes information found on PCs, hard drives and SD cards, of course, but in total takes in some 25 different sources, including DVDs, paper adverts, credit card chips and books, it added. We don't know if it also counted old punch cards and punch paper tape, but it might have.
"If we were to take all that information and store it in books, we could cover the entire area of the US or China in 3 layers of books," Dr Martin Hilbert of the University of Southern California told the BBC news website. We don't know whether he really plans to cover China in that many books, but it is good to know that he could if he really wanted to.
So, we know that this data could be used to litter China, and could be held on 1.2 billion hard drives, but how else can we imagine what 295 billion gigabytes looks like? Up steps the BBC again, which helpfully added that if it were all stored on CDs the pile would reach beyond the moon. That's a very handy visual image, should you be trying to explain the amount to a group of Virgin Megastore workers.
Much of the increase is down to what the researchers called a digital revolution, which has seen digital information grow so that it makes up 94 per cent of all saved content.
"There have been other revolutions before," Dr Hilbert told the BBC. "The car changed society completely, or electricity. Every 40, 50 or 60 years something grows faster than anything else, and right now it's information." µ
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