Dr. Media says, how could it not? The fact of this information Tsunami, rolling continuously over the psyches of millions of of people could make some chages in their worldviews,The clash of cultures creates new mythologies that embody new ideas,like freedom of thought and expression, and technology allows for the spread of this meme.This becomes internalized and is fought against by those who don’t like the consequences,like the breakdown of religions parochial hold on peoples ways of thinking.”How are you going to keep them down on the farm after they have seen Paree”, as the song says.
Benny Evangelista, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 9, 200
If you’ve felt bombarded by information in this era of Internet communications, hundreds of TV channels and video games, it’s not your imagination.
A new study released Wednesday says households in the United States consumed a mind-boggling total of 3.6 zettabytes of information and 10,845 trillion words in 2008.
That’s a daily average of 33.8 gigabytes of information and 100,564 words per person.
Put another way, it’s the equivalent of covering the continental United States and Alaska in a 7-foot-high stack of Dan Brown novels.
“We’re all on information overload for good reason,” said Roger Bohn, the study’s lead author and a professor of management at UC San Diego.
“The amount we can assimilate is only a little bit more than what our ancestors could assimilate, but the amount that’s available to us now is many orders of magnitude more,” said Bohn, director of the school’s Global Information Industry Center.
The researchers sought to create a census of how much data and information flows to consumers from all sources – the Internet, television, radio, newspapers, magazines, mobile phones, video games, DVD players, music files and more.
The study accounts for everything from individual bytes of words to the gigabytes of information in a video. But the report doesn’t cover data Americans get at work. That will be left for a future study.
One zettabyte is equal to 1 billion terabytes, or 1 million million gigabytes. The 3.6 zettabytes consumed is about 20 times more data than all the existing computer hard drives in the world can store.
Using 20 different sources of data – such as Nielsen television ratings and U.S. census data – the researchers created mathematical formulas to compute how information was consumed in words, bytes and time spent.
The report built upon previous research at UC Berkeley and by International Data Corp. Previous projections found the world would not reach one zettabyte of data consumption until 2010, but Bohn said they didn’t fully account for television and video games use.
The UC San Diego researchers said the bulk of the bytes consumed came from three sources – nearly 54.6 percent from computer games, 34.7 percent through television and 9.8 percent from movies.
The average American receives information 11.8 hours of each day, or about 75 percent of the average time a person is awake, the report said. That compares to an average 4.3 hours per day based on a 1960 study.
The researchers were surprised by the relatively slow 5.4 percent annual growth rate of bytes consumed since 1980, when personal computers began to spread to homes. At that point, Americans were consuming about 9.8 gigabytes of information daily.
More than 75 percent of average household information time is still spent with non-computer sources like radio and television, even though younger audiences gravitated to computers.
The researchers were also surprised to find that contrary to prevailing wisdom, people are reading more than 20 years ago and that computers have reversed a TV-caused decline in overall words read before 1980.
Overall, reading from all sources, including television, has tripled since 1980, the study said.
While the share of printed words read declined from 25 percent in 1960 to 9 percent in 2008, the share of words read from the Internet and computer programs is now about 27 percent, or 27,122 words.
E-mail, texting and “a lot of Web browsing is still in the form of reading,” Bohn said.
In the future, the spread of high-definition TV will be one reason the amount of data consumed will rise, although probably at a slow rate, he said.
But that could still be affected by shifting consumer trends, with the Internet becoming increasingly video-driven and mobile phones gearing more toward text via messaging and Web browsing.
“We’re in the middle of a lot of different kinds of evolution in terms of how people are getting information,” he said.