Technology by numbers

Technology by numbers

The amazing thing about technology … is that it’s amazing. Mind boggling, in fact. Someone told me the other day that it took social networking site Facebook two years to reach an audience of 50 million. As remarkable as it is, this is the sort of stat we tend to take in our stride, nodding sagely at the phenomenal phenomenon that is IT. Two years, huh? It actually seems a long time. However, to put that in perspective, it took TV 13 years to reach a similar audience … and for radio it was 38 years!

Of course, not content with just one single stat, I went in search of more fascinating facts and titillating trivia – and I wasn’t disappointed. Here are 10 that blew me away:

• It’s estimated that 988 exabytes of data (that’s one quintillion or a billion billion bytes) will be created in 2010. My maths isn’t that great but I’m reliably informed that’s 18 million times the amount of information contained in all the books ever written.

• Google processes about one billion searches a day – which begs the question: what on earth did we all do when we couldn’t Google?

• We only have three maybe four years to wait before a supercomputer will have been built that exceeds the computational capabilities of the human brain (although I’m guessing some brains have already been exceeded). And if that’s not food for thought (especially after watching the latest Terminator movie), it’s predicted that by 2049 a $1000 computer will exceed the computational capabilities of the entire human race.

• About 1.6 billion people use the internet regularly – that’s roughly one in four of us. North America has the highest penetration rate, about 75 per cent, followed by Oceania (60 per cent) and Europe (49 per cent). But Asia has the highest number of surfers, approximately 114 million, give or take a few thousand.

• Not sure if this is a bit of a Tui moment but apparently the friction of the electrons passing around the planet in the form of internet traffic has increased the overall global temperature by 0.07 degrees.

• Some bright spark has worked out that during an average day we depend on 264 computers doing their job so we can live our lives.

• The number of text messages sent every day exceeds the total population of the planet, currently fast approaching seven billion.

• More than a billion transistors are manufactured… every second. Wow. What do we do with all of them?

• If you thought computer games were the preserve of the spotty teenage geek, think again. The Entertainment Software Association has just released its latest stats dissecting exactly who is doing the playing. The average age of gamers is … wait for it … 35 years. And while the bulk of gamers are in the 18 to 49 year age range, an astonishing (well, it’s astonishing to me) 26 per cent are aged 50 or over.

• And, finally, in the time it has taken you to read all this, about 694,000 songs will have been downloaded illegally off the internet. Naughty. Naughty. See? Amazing.

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