How Much Data Do Americans Consume Each Day?

Posted by Patrick James

According to research from the University of California at San Diego-which has been transformed into this awesome accompanying graphic illustration by the artist graphic designer Rob Vargas for Fast Company-Americans consume 3.6 zettabytes (one zettabyte is one billion trillion bytes) per day. Zounds.upswing_data_consumption6202Here's a bit of the executive summary of the report:

In 2008, Americans consumed information for about 1.3 trillion hours, an average of almost 12 hours per day. Consumption totaled 3.6 zettabytes and 10,845 trillion words, corresponding to 100,500 words and 34 gigabytes for an average person on an average day. A zettabyte is 10 to the 21st power bytes, a million million gigabytes. These estimates are from an analysis of more than 20 different sources of information, from very old (newspapers and books) to very new (portable computer games, satellite radio, and Internet video). Information at work is not included.We defined "information" as flows of data delivered to people and we measured the bytes, words, and hours of consumer information. Video sources (moving pictures) dominate bytes of information, with 1.3 zettabytes from television and approximately 2 zettabytes of computer games. If hours or words are used as the measurement, information sources are more widely distributed, with substantial amounts from radio, Internet browsing, and others. All of our results are estimates.
I wonder if this research could be extended to determine the total amount of information communicated and consumed in human history.Via Neatorama.