Makes Me Feel Mighty Small

I’m browsing the tech news this morning for interesting tidbits of information. Some of these are useful and some, beyond my trying to quench my curiosity, don’t have much purpose.

I found myself reading this piece about all the data we’re accumulating and storing. LINK

What do you get if you pile up all those USB thumb drives, CDs, chip-enabled credit cards, moldering videocassettes, library books, and Babylonian clay tablets?

About 295 exabytes of storage capacity, that’s what. So conclude Martin Hilbert and Priscilla Lopez, researchers at the University of Southern California, who today published in the journal Science their estimate of just how much information humans can store at present.

That number is, of course, big. An exabyte is 1,000 petabytes, and a petabyte is 1,000 terabytes, and a terabyte is about what you’d get in a desktop PC hard drive these days.

Now, this is all numbers and for a techie interested in such things that’s cool.

But at the end is the kicker.

And although humanity has an impressive collective hard drive, it’s peanuts compared to what nature has accomplished. Humanity’s manufactured storage capacity is just a hundredth of the information capacity of humanity’s DNA, the researchers said.

So we got all this cool stuff and then in steps the man upstairs or whatever we envision as some supreme being to remind us that for all our fancy feathers we need to keep our humility close by.

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3 thoughts on “Makes Me Feel Mighty Small

  1. cmaukonen

    OMG TPC I was just thinking about this yesterday. About how clever we humans think we are with all our computer storage and processing. When all the information to make I human or cat or fish (or republican*) is contained in the DNA of each cell. Smaller in size than anything we currently make for such a task.

    *Actually republicans require much less information to generate. About half that needed for a typical virus.

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