Americans consume 34 GB of information a day

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textingAmericans, it has turned out, gorge not only on food, but on information, too. A recent study shows that we consume 34 GB of video, music and text every day.


34GB is a lot of information. It would fill 7 DVDs or 1.5 Blu-ray disks. The study titled "How much information" was conducted by the Global Information Industry Center at the University of California, San Diego, to measure the information that average Americans consumed outside of work. The 34 GB is doubly sensational given that this information was consumed at home and probably listening to the radio while commuting (or talking and texting while driving, but that's another story). Yearly, this information adds up to 3.6 zettabytes. Or 36 followed by 20 zeros.

Clearly, the numbers are sensational. It is a wonder that a word like "zettabyte" actually existed, and that we need it to measure something.

But if you stopped for a minute and thought about it, this number shouldn't be too amazing. About 60% percent of the 34 GB came via traditional means: TV and radio. The rest is due to improved graphics. For example, if you changed from a standard definition TV to high-def, it would add to to your information intake substantially, even if you did not increase TV time.

Nevertheless, this number is important for one purpose. It is a measure of the data bandwidth required to deliver all the non-work information via the Internet. The Global Information Industry Center is naturally immensely interested in this number.
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