May 18th, 2007


[culture] Bits across the centuries

As my flight was taxiing across the ramp to the terminal here in scenic D/FW International Airport, I found myself wondering about information density across the ages of history. (As one does.)

For example, how many bits of information were recorded in the 14th century, the last century prior to the invention of the printing press? How many bits in the 15th and 16th centuries? Likewise, with the advent of typewriters and the beginnings of electronic media in the 19th century, how many bits of information were recorded then? And how many years (or days, or hours) does it take the 21st century to accumulate the equivalent of all recorded information in those previous centuries?

I am travelling and thus my Google fu is weak today, but I throw the question open for consideration. I find the implications of this idea quite intriguing.

Now, off to Portland.