Humanity is heading towards an “information disaster”

Humanity is heading towards an "information disaster"

If we continue to produce digital information in this way, then Earth will contain as many bits as the number of atoms within 150 years. Mankind is converting solid matter (raw materials and energy) into hypothetical matter at such a rapid rate that it is heading towards an “information disaster”.

This is what British physicist Melvin Fobson argues in a trade journal AIP progress. Of all the bits of information currently stored (in data centers, on hard drives, and in phones), 90 percent were produced in the past 10 years. If it continues to grow in this fashion, digitalization will require a great deal of energy in a century and a half of the energy produced annually around the world. Then there was nothing left for transportation, heating and cooling.

1 billion grains

Vopson is a physicist who considers information to be the fifth state in which matter can be (besides solid, liquid, gas, and plasma). In that theory, information also has weight. All digital information produced so far weighs a trillion grains of wheat. But if digitization continues its exponential growth, within two centuries, half of everything on Earth will have entered the state of information.

It is a horror scenario in which humans have actually exchanged the real world for a virtual copy. But this information theory has not yet been proven. And there is a glimmer of hope: if information already has weight and belongs to normal physics, then it can also be converted back into energy and matter. In principle.

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