How many yottabytes are in a life?

According to Wikipedia a yottabyte is 1000e8 or 1024e8 bytes, depending on how you roll your bytes. Beyond that is xennabyte which is 1000 yottabytes. There’s some disagreement here, though, xennabytes may be called brontobytes or nonabytes instead. And after that? Well, perhaps we’ll have vekabytes. That’s a whole lot of storage. Before we even get to yottabytes we’ve got to go through zetta-, exa-, peta-, tera- before we get down to gigabytes.

Of course, all the computer storage in the world wouldn’t likely equal a yottabyte yet and the technology doesn’t exist yet that could put that much memory in one container. There has been talk about nanotech breakthroughs which may lead to the revolution in memory technology necessary to allow a yottabyte container but… you’ll be waiting a while to get one. The combined storage on all the computers in the world is supposed to be in the exabyte range after all. For more on this see this pdf.

Bhavin Turakhia discusses this in this powerpoint and posits the following:

it would take 1400 TB to store your entire life in video. 5700 TB if you want to know what was happening around you. Another 73 TB for the audio files of everything you heard (MP3 quality). That’s about 6000 TB for a copy of your life

Wow. That’s 6 petabytes in a life. All the sensory experience anyway. On the other hand, have you ever seen the original painting “Luncheon of the Boating Party” by Renoir? There’s so much in that painting that you’d have a hard time digitizing the experience. We’re more complex than we know.  I remember falling in love and how full of joy I felt then. And yet buoyant too. Somehow I don’t think a simple handful of petabytes could handle it.

But wouldn’t it be fun to try?


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