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August 18, 2010

where is the wisdom we have lost in information?

(Aspen, CO) Thanks to a reference by Richard Adler, I see that all the words ever spoken by human beings took 5 exabytes of data. In 2010 alone, we will produce about 750 exabytes. In 2011, we will produce about 1,750 exabytes, and rapidly rising. So in one year, we will communicate 350 times more data than we have spoken in the past hundreds of thousands of years.

But the rate of growth in aggregate wisdom seems modest, at best. I'd sum it up like this:

I thought it was Winston Churchill who said, "The population of the earth rises exponentially, but the sum total of human intelligence is finite constant." I can't find that quote online, so maybe I garbled it. But if you substitute "exabytes of data" for "population," it seems about right.

August 18, 2010 12:26 AM | category: none



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