What’s the percentage of digitalized vs non digitalized human civilization data right now ?
Is it pen, printer, video tape still winning or hard drive ?
How it progressed so far ?

  • 4
    Digital exceeds non-digital.

    That is only my speculation, but consider these:

    Paintings and film vs digital photos
    YouTube vs camcorder
    DVD/BD vs Reel/VCR/BM
    Chats vs books

    How many words are added to reddit every day? How many words are in your average library?

    Now: how much data does Google, China, the NSA, etc. collect and store every second?

    Google's storage is measured in hundreds of exabytes, and might even be a petabyte now. How many books would it take to fill that? (and I belive the NSA has more storage yet.) Add on the NSA's and China's too, and you have a pretty obvious winner.

    But: what do you count as data?
    Are buildings data? Cities? Pre-historic clubs and cave paintings? How about the humans themselves? What about everything humans have done to/with the world?

    Depending on how detailed of data you store on e.g. a building, it could be gigantic (molecular structure, exact placement of particles, etc.; though very little of this is actually intentional, so i posit that it doesn't count). The same is true of cities, just on a larger scale. For individual people, the average person's dna amounts to a bit over 700mb worth of data, though since people are basically identical, you can compress this down to about a 4mb diff each. How many trillion people have there been? Times 4mb? honestly, it still doesn't amount to much data. Even if the 4mb diff is off by 200% or 400%, it still doesn't make much of a difference. Now, a diff between the world with and without humans would probably be enormous. if you're counting that as data, too, the analog side would definitely win, but personally I don't think that counts for the same reason the molecular structure of a building doesn't: the vast majority of it is unintentional.
  • 1
    So: books, film, photographs, vinyl records, casettes, letters, etc. vs google. the nsa, and china. I believe any of those three, by themselves, have store dmore data than all humans have throughout history combined.

    tl;dr: digital by a huge margin.
  • 0
    @Root ok but still google storage is more global driven than local at least outside of US.

    You can’t go to museum without living home to see some new artist paintings.
    Same with movies, music festivals etc.
    Same with books, there are multiple small book publishers and I know national library should have at least one copy but it might not be digitally accessible.
    There are books and historical archives from at least couple of centuries in each of small regional museum. Ex. there are buildings filed with papers about WW2 itself in Europe that will be lost sooner or later and nobody cares. History of civilization lost.

    Most art is still on the streets right now I think.
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    @vane Your examples really don't contribute that much, though. Convert all of these to digital formats; how much raw data would they add? A few terabytes?

    A painting is roughly the same size as a high-res, raw format image. A WW2 letter? a text document, or to preserve the paper, another image. Street art? another photo. A layered texture + 3d model if you really want to be thorough.

    People definitely do still generate non-digital content, but really, it doesn't compate to the amount of digital content generated every day.
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