typodupeerror

## The Sum Total of the World's Knowledge: 250 Exabytes168

Posted by timothy
from the well-250-exabytes-and-this-article dept.
arkenian writes "The BBC reports on an article in Science about scientists who calculate that the sum of all the world's stored data is 250 exabytes. Perhaps more interestingly, the total amount of data broadcast is 2 zettabytes (1000 exabytes) annually. In theory this means that the sum of the world's knowledge is broadcast 8 times a year, but I bet mostly that's just a lot of American Idol reruns."
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## The Sum Total of the World's Knowledge: 250 Exabytes

• #### absolute value? (Score:4, Insightful)

on Saturday February 12, 2011 @02:45PM (#35188102) Homepage
Perhaps some of the knowledge broadcast has a negative value, so the absolute value of the knowledge broadcast is high, but the net information distributed is much smaller?
• #### "Stored Data" does not equal "Knowledge" (Score:5, Insightful)

on Saturday February 12, 2011 @02:46PM (#35188104)

Nice way to conflate terms for a sensational headline. What a bogus metric. A good chunk of that "stored data" is junk. Probably most of it. Not to mention duplication. (Duplication? I told you not to mention duplication :-)

• #### What exactly counts as "knowledge"? (Score:2, Insightful)

on Saturday February 12, 2011 @02:47PM (#35188118)

E=mc^2 represents a lot more knowledge to me than the entire 3,000 episode run of "The View" or similiar programs -- even though it's a lot more concise.

I could take a yottapixel photo of dirt and it sure won't tell me a lot.

• #### Well, its certainly a number. (Score:4, Insightful)

on Saturday February 12, 2011 @03:03PM (#35188230)

...not meaningful in terms of the headline. The number is just addressing storage capacity potential available, not as unique meaningful data. All its saying is that the average person has access to x terrabyes of digital storage. That number is just taking manufacturing numbers for electronic hardware, and dividing by number of people.

It's not addressing the actual complexity generated or used by people. It's not actually addressing any actual people or what they do.

There is, however an interesting deeper meaning behind a number like this - the more this number multiplies, the harder it is going to be to control information, as people have more and more diverse options for storing and transferring data.

This means that even as processing power multiplies - it becomes even more impossible to police all the data of the world for improper uses.

That's the more interesting aspect of this number.

Ryan Fenton

• #### Re:And a lot of it is free (Score:4, Insightful)

on Saturday February 12, 2011 @03:10PM (#35188278)
I love how the first thing you see, when you click the link, is that the article says 295 exabytes, not 250.
• #### Re:In conclusion (Score:5, Insightful)

on Saturday February 12, 2011 @04:06PM (#35188664) Homepage Journal

38 Gigabytes per person is enough? I don't think so.

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