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World's Technological Storage Capacity

Published in the journal Science, here is an abstract "We estimate the world's technological capacity to store, communicate, and compute information, tracking 60 analog and digital technologies during the period from 1986 to 2007. In 2007, humankind was able to store 2.9 × 1020 optimally compressed bytes, communicate almost 2 × 1021 bytes, and carry out 6.4 × 1018 instructions per second on general-purpose computers. General-purpose computing capacity grew at an annual rate of 58%. The world's capacity for bidirectional telecommunication grew at 28% per year, closely followed by the increase in globally stored information (23%). Humankind's capacity for unidirectional information diffusion through broadcasting channels has experienced comparatively modest annual growth (6%). Telecommunication has been dominated by digital technologies since 1990 (99.9% in digital format in 2007), and the majority of our technological memory has been in digital format since the early 2000s (94% digital in 2007). "

Projected Technological Storage Capacity from 2007-2020 (based on a 23% growth rate)
Year 1986-2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Exabytes 295 363 446 549 675 831 1022 1256 1545 1901 2338 2876 3537 4351

Notes:
  • Hilbert and Lopez looked at data from 1986 to 2007, and they found that globally stored information expanded 23% per year on average.
  • The study combine every CD, analog tape, book, newspaper and USB wafer and put all that information on one hard drive
  • Published their results in the journal Science, 2/2011.
  • An exabyte is the equivalent of 1 million terabytes
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