I’ve recently come across the statistic that “90% of the world’s data has been produced in just the last two years.” However, I can’t find the real source for this statement, so I’ll try to quickly break it down below:
In 1997, Professor Michael Lesk, the Chair at the Department of Library and Information Science at Rutgers University, made the statement that all the world’s information amounted to about 12 Exabytes. This is from looking at “traditional” information in the form of cinema, images, broadcasting, sound, and telephony.
If we look at the last two years, the leading sources would be IDC with their Digital Universe study (sponsored by EMC), and the University of California, San Diego’s Global Information Industry Center. IDC is more of an apples to apples comparison, and they indicate that in 2012 and 2013, 2.8 and 4.4 zettabytes were created respectively.
If we directly compare 12 Exabytes with 7,200 Exabytes, 99.8 percent of all information was created in the last two years.
This bears additional investigation, but at least we’re now talking numbers. ;)