America Hungry, Need Data

Data Consumption

One upside to the downturn is that the average American has a smaller food budget these days, so perhaps we can finally get our arms around the enormous domestic weight problem. Even our Super Models are getting skinnier! But while our hunger for hamburgers may be facing a forced downsizing, our insatiable appetite for information continues to balloon. Just how big is this lust for bytes? According to a new study by the University of California, San Diego, from 1980 through 2008 the total number of bytes bitten by Americans has upped by 6% per year and now stands at an incredibly huge sounding 3.6 zettabytes. (Or one billion trillion bytes, if that’s easier to imagine.) The Upswing is, of course, interested in unlikely economic indicators of good news and this is surely one. How lean, after all, can the times be when we continue to gorge on data? And someone has to produce all this content, which means the future of electronic innovation appears to be rather secure. Here we break down what 3.6 zettabytes–or 34 gigabytes a day–means in terms of daily consumption.

[Data via Bits]
Infographic: Rob Vargas