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How Much Information? 2009 Update

I recently saw this:
Together, the cloud and the next generation of intelligent infrastructure will also help us navigate a world where information is growing exponentially. With less than 20 per cent of the world’s population currently online, the amount of digital information doubles every 18 months. According to industry analyst firm IDC, 988 exabytes of data are added annually to the digital universe, about 18m times the information in all the books ever written.

via / Technology / Digital Business - Technology critical to turning mass of data into useful insight.

And it reminded me of the seminal Berkeley paper, How Much Information, most recently released in 2003, I believe.

Yeah, there might be a market for archive and storage...

Doubles every 18 months, eh? Sounds a bit like Moore's law, but applied to bits. "The number of bits of information in the world doubles approximately every 18 months". I like that thought.


  1. The way I heard it was a slightly different form: that storage capacity *and storage use* both increase roughly in time with Moore's Law. So we keep making ever-bigger storage devices, and we still fill them up. This makes sense to me: just like bandwidth, storage use expands to fill storage capacity.

    I've noticed that this seems to happen on an individual level too: everyone's (use / capacity) tends to remain roughly constant. Whatever your personal ratio is (20%, 90%, etc) you will tend to maintain that over time. So if you're someone who's always running out of disk space, upgrades are only a temporary relief; it's probably going to be a permanent condition.


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