Friday, September 25, 2009

5 exabytes in the last 2 days. We better get busy!

Eric Schmidt, Google CEO, at a talk given at a forum jointly hosted by Google and the Pittsburgh Technology Council, stated that the amount of data generated from the birth of humanity to the year 2003 was 5 exabytes (point 8:30 of the talk). The date of the presentation was September 23, 2009. Schmidt, then stated that given the connectivity we now have the amount of data generated the last 2 days was equal to these 5 exabytes. What!!!???!??!?! An exabyte is one quintillion bytes. Just within the last year could you buy a 1 to 4 terabyte hard drive. An exabyte is 1,048,576 terabytes or 1,073,741,824 gigabytes, i.e a lot of data!

OK. We may have generated that amount of data the last few days. And do not misunderstand me. I realize there is intelligence in that data. And yes, let it instruct and assist us. But my thinking is that the 5 exabytes in the last several thousand years is of much better quality and substance that the 5 exabytes in the last 2 days, right? If not, then the quality and substance is hidden therein and let us get busy and mine it out!