A new report from technology research firm IDC have calculated that the world generated 161 exabytes of data last year. 161 billion gigabytes is a lot of data, and they had to add quite a few things into the equation to reach that number, but it gives you an idea of just how much information we're pushing around with current technology. Furthermore, the estimate of how much storage space is out there is actually lower than the amount of data being generated.
"But that report followed a different trail. It included non-electronic information, such as analog radio broadcasts or printed office memos, and tallied how much space that would consume if digitized. And it counted original data only, not all the times things got copied.
In comparison, the IDC numbers were made much higher by including content as it was created and as it was reproduced - for example, as a digital TV file was made and every time it landed on a screen. If IDC tracked original data only, its result would have been 40 exabytes."