An article on big data makes a claim about how much information humans have created in the last two years:
In the last two years, humans have created 90% of all information ever created by our species. If our data output used to be a sprinkler, it is now a firehose that’s only getting stronger, and it is revealing information about our relationships, health, and undiscovered trends in society that are just beginning to be understood.
This is quite a bit of data. But a few points in a response:
1. I assume this refers only to recorded data. While there are more people on earth than before, humans are expressive creatures and have been for a long time.
2. This article could be interpreted by some to mean that we need to pay more attention to online privacy but I would guess much of this information is volunteered. Think of Facebook: users voluntarily submit information their friends and Facebook can access. Or blogs: people voluntarily put together content.
3. This claim also suggests we need better ways to sort through and make sense of all this data. How can the average Internet user put it all this data together in a meaningful way? We are simply awash in information and I wonder how many people, particularly younger people, know how to make sense of all that is out there.
4. Of course, having all of this information out there doesn’t necessarily mean it is meaningful or worthwhile.