13 March 2008

A Digital Shadow in the Digital Universe

As a mathematician, I love numbers, and here are some pretty spectactular ones from IDC:

The IDC research shows that the digital universe — information that is either created, captured, or replicated in digital form — was 281 exabytes in 2007. In 2011, the amount of digital information produced in the year should equal nearly 1,800 exabytes, or 10 times that produced in 2006. The compound annual growth rate between now and 2011 is expected to be almost 60%.

Part of that digital universe is the digital data about us - our digital shadow as IDC dub it:

in 2007, when IDC developed the Personal Digital Footprint Calculator, launched this month, we discovered that only about half of the digital footprint would be related to individual actions — taking pictures, making VoIP phone calls, uploading videos to YouTube, downloading digital content, and so on.

We called the remainder “ambient” content. It is digital images of you on a surveillance camera and records in banking, brokerage, retail, airline, telephone, and medical databases. It is information about Web searches and general backup data. It is copies of hospital scans. In other words, it is information about you in cyberspace. Your digital shadow, if you will.

Talk about ghost in the machine....

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