Credit: Anthropology Department, Boise State.
It is with good cause that the term “information overload” was coined in recent years. If the amount of information that is available is an indication of the knowledge available, knowledge has increased within our generation almost beyond imagination! Here are just a few mind-boggling facts on this:
- The total amount of the world’s newly generated digital information is expected to have exploded by 60%—to 8 exabytes [in 2005] from 5 exabytes in 2003, according to figures and extrapolations developed by the University of California at Berkeley. That means that [in one year] the world will generate 57,000 times the total of all information in the Library of Congress.
- An exabyte is 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes, or 1 billion billion. All human spoken words in history are calculated to be 5 exabytes. Information in magnetic media (such as business digital information) account for more than 90% of this staggering total. U.C. Berkeley estimates that global information increases about 30% per year.
- Online information doubles every 6 months
- Corporate information doubles every 18 months
- Scientific information doubles every 5 years
- Biological information doubles every 5 years
- Useful genetic information doubles every 18–24 months
- The sum total of human knowledge doubles every 2–3 years (and is soon expected to double every year)
- Printed knowledge doubles every 8 years
- Technical knowledge doubles every 3 years
- Medical knowledge doubles every 7 years.
- Each year around a million books are printed (that’s titles, not copies), 25,276 newspapers are published (that is separate newspaper titles), 40,000 scholarly journals, 80,000 mass-market periodicals, 40,000 newsletters.
- Estimates based on the Netcraft Web server survey for January 2008 show there are over 155.5 million distinct websites, an increase of over 33 million from six months before.
But what good is a head full of knowledge if our hearts are empty and we lack peace of mind and purpose in life?