How Many Bytes Do People Carry?


It took over an hour to put a video on YouTube today. That’s what I get with a slow internet connection and 350 megabytes to dish onto someone else’s server. But in a world of terabytes and beyond, 350 megabytes is a grain on the beach.

What is the source of all this memory? And is there an upper bound to it like there is with natural resources, or can we produce an unlimited amount of computer storage?

I wonder if there is an unbiased, random statistic on how many bytes the average person in a technologically advanced country carries?  Not too long ago it was 0, but now, between MP3 players, phones, memory sticks, cameras, video recorders, laptops, netbooks, GPSs, handheld consoles, keychains, and tennis shoes, the average joe has bytes to spare.

Probably somewhere on the order of giga, or at least approaching giga.

So, how has our newfound giga power influenced people?

Does access to a seemingly inextinguishable, ever-growing supply of memory make us fitter, more likely to thrive and survive?

Or does this memory font make this a generation of tech geeks who leave their houses rarely, and when they do it’s only with a backlit screen pounding into their eyes, ready to record life in some format.

Outside, people are documentarians, inside they’re broadcasters of their material.

This is a trend that will increase as technology advances.

With the web of online servers at people’s disposal, anything we document can be made public.  Forget acceptance letters and long-term contracts.  Giga power and the fact that no one has to go through the usual selective channels to broadcast their material anymore has made this the generation of self-publishers.

September 9, 2009 8:42 pm

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