You’ve done it.. I;ve done it..and many million people have done it..or about to do it! I am of course talking about posting a picture, a blog, a video, a quote etc.. basically anything that adds even an extra 1 byte of data (well, these days, what with everything being High Definition, High Resolution.. High Fidelity.. and Hi-tech.. even a single photograph posted online in a typical social media network site can be some thing like 100 Mega Bytes! That’s more info-packaging than even the computers that were onboard the rockets that took Man to the Moon first..).
So if you share one album…of a party or a night out.. say 10-20 photos, it can be easily over 1 Giga Byte of data…loaded onto someone else’s sever (let’s admit this – apart from government or research bodies, military and other highly independent people.. most of us don’t have our own servers that are connected to the internet (or IS part of the internet!) Everyone (big companies, Internet service providers ) are offering so much `free space’ (in their servers!).. we just take them.. consume them..gobble them up.. with so much multi-media.
Forget a picture painting a thousand words.. In this age, it is a case of a Photograph that can take up the space of million words! – in terms of data storage!
Everyday, bodies like Youtube boast that several thousand new videos have been uploaded the previous day.. Blogging platforms like WordPress boast that several hundred new blogs had been added the previous day (like this one! yes am guilty too).
If all the data & photos were to be printed every day ..on paper…can you imagine how much paper it will consume? Then we’ll all be campaigning.. about how it’s using up forests..(paper is organic…comes from pulped plant matter! It’s why we recycle paper after all! So we don’t use up new forests ..erm right!)
Lucky, we don’t print everything …instead we upload them.. to websites, social media sites.. or save them on our hard drives, discs, solid state microchips …!
But all those things are physical objects.. servers are large computers that hold websites.. so are social media sites.. (Google alone has millions of computers around the world in large buildings…all kept cool.. powered by electricity! Imagine how many computers & servers Companies like Facebook must have.. to keep up with all the data people are uploading every second!!)
We might think.. we are not printing..so it ‘s environmentally sound..but we are consuming power, storage space, and power for maintenance for those trillions of computers! Well, that’s the eco-crisis aspect of this matter.
There is also the `sharing’ on social networks!
Gone are the days (which was only a few years ago in fact) when people wrote about themselves, what they are feeling, thinking,, etc on their status updates and `walls’. Now majority of posts are `sharing’ photos, slogans, quotes, words or wisdom..and quite a million bytes of `here today- saved for eternity-but no-one cares’ information!! :-p
Data storage – paperless society
People took months and years to write books.. after research…Now online publishing is so fast, that thoughts are being published without any sort of review, editing, measuring etc. In the old days, much will fall on the cutting room floor, or the postman will return that big manuscript to the author for the umpteenth edit again. wanna be authors just give up after that many rejects.. Paper and publishing standards are saved! Not any more.. We upload.. consume gigabytes of server space.. on Amazon, facebook, youtube and…I wont’t even start on Google! (repository of all inline knowledge and quite a lot of the rubbish we all upload!!)
Good news is…technology is getting better..and better. So data storage devises (hard drives, micro-chips) are getting smaller ..but holding more data. So we can consume more .. And of course research is going on about storing data on micro-crystals and quantum bits (Q-bits?) – atoms and molecules whose spin and various quantum numbers can be fixed..ie information.. equivalent to the 1.1.1 0.0.0.0 1.0. (on-off switches that are the basis of binary systems and all data storage of computers!)
Brilliant.. we can pack even more terabytes of information on to quantum-crystals embedded in our fingernails, ear-lobes…and belly-buttons (there’s a thought. Belly-button finally gets a use again after becoming obsolete at birth?!)
Storage may be okay …but we’re still adding data.. and the more freedom we have, more rubbish seems to get through and gets saved…for eternity.. for future-man or woman or alien to download ..read and …erm.. choke? ?!
Look …741 words already (so says my wordpress editor, as I write this)…and this is going to get saved for posterity… It will be here in the net, etherial floating in Q-bit realm.. decades after I am long dead.. (Even if I stop paying for the domain..and wordpress deletes it.. Google will have saved it somewhere…or a new Company called Trooble will have sprung up.. probably the son-of-google.. and taken up where Google leaves.. (if it ever will).
Quantum storage & Know-it-all computers
Oh another (related?) matter- People keep saying..and thinking that we can one day keep in record everything we know.. and I am talking about quantum-Physics here (not social media).. the location and speed of every single particle.. in the universe.. ! People say that at that point, a computer that holds that much of information…about everything in the universe…can predict anything! (A God-Computer?)
But sadly.. that is not possible.. If a computer records all the info about everything in the Universe… it has to put it on to a magnetic tape, a DVD disc, micro-chip, a quantum-crystal-array or something physical! Now here’s the thing.. holding that much of info will change the nature of that storage device… and where will the computer record that info? on the same chip? or anther crystal?
It just isn’t possible.. laws of quantum-mechanics don’t allow such things.. (observer effect)… unless of course the Higgs reveals new things about those laws.. ! (that’s another matter).
.. so where was I? Yes, 989 words..Nope.. as I type it, the word count has changed.. (Observer effect at work :-p )
Okay some of this is so off the wall /page…and into flights of science-fiction & fantasy…but the problem remains..
We are consuming more info (mostly useless) and uploading even more data (more than half of it utter rubbish).
It’s not adding real value to the lives of people..! We already know those words of wisdom.. and those famous quotes…and have imagined a Witch & a Fairy flying naked through magical forest…and a swirly-burly Alien meditating (!?) in hyper-space or another moon.. ! Yes, those shared pictures are pretty.. but do they add value to other people’s lives? Do they solve their emotional problems at hand..that they really are not putting up on their status line anymore…for fear of being ridiculed or worse ..bullied? Do those `shares’ and `likes’ really bring people together..? or are we just playing lip-service to it al that come on our screen.. but hope that our own shares get read by thousands of others..? (another debate…!)
Do me a favour.. in fact ..do the world a favour.. and the future` Trooble -son of Google’ a favour..
Thank you for reading my `way past midnight’ thoughts 🙂
Good evening USA. Good Night UK.. Good Morning Australia.. and Greetings Earth 3012.. 🙂