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Production of new information is critical for the success of modern activities all over the globe. Most people argue that information is power. Information is important since it determines how people communicate with each other. Moreover, good decision-making is largely influenced by the amount of information that the person possesses. In business, managers communicate with their subordinates, vendors, and customers in order to determine whether there is any new information that can make their products more successful. New information provided by scientists helps in creating the cure for numerous diseases such as cancer. However, the process of quantifying information is complicated. This paper focuses on the amount of information that is produced each year.

The study of the amount of information produced each year was started in 2000 by the School of Information Systems and Management of the University of California. The results of its study revealed that the world produces about two exabytes of information each year. Scientists argue that this number equates to about 20 billion copies of The Economist. The lead researchers in this study are Hal Varian and Peter Lyman. According to the authors, it is possible for people to access all the information that is stored in technological devices virtually. It makes it possible for scientists to estimate the information stored on the storage devices. Information stored on the modern storage devices can be used to estimate the amount of information that is produced in the world each year.

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Newspapers contribute significantly to the amount of information that is produced each year. Varian and Lyman state that newspapers produce about 740,000 terabytes of information annually. Most newspaper companies publish their newspapers daily. However, some newspapers are issued weekly, monthly, or on a specific day of a week. Newspapers produce different types of information. Morning Star mainly deals with political agendas. In contrast, the Jewish Telegraph provides information that is related to religion. Christian Today also deals with information related to Christianity. The number of people reading newspapers has been on an increase for the last few years. Advancement in technology has made it possible to read newspapers in many forms. More than half of the adult population read them daily. Due to the huge demand for newspapers, more than 2.5 billion copies are produced in print form. In addition, 600 million newspapers are produced in digital form.

Introduction of digital information has made it possible for people to produce information through the use of digital media. According to Varian and Lyman, about 610 billion emails are sent in America each year. This amounts to about 11 terabytes of information generated by e-mails alone. Varian and Lyman also found out that telephone calls generate about 576,000 terabytes of data annually (Seba, 2007). The development of email as a major mean of communication can be attributed to several reasons. One of these reasons is that it is easy to produce messages using emails. The language that is used in electronic letters is very simple and informal. Due to this, people prefer using emails to sending information via other ways. It is also rather quickly to send information using emails as compared to the other forms of communication. This is because email messages are delivered instantly despite the geographical location of the recipient.

Medical information also contributes significantly to the general amount of information that is produced each year. Study conducted on MEDLINE revealed that about 8.1 million journal articles were produced between 1978 and 2001. The increase in the information produced by medical literature has been significantly contributed by the fact that experiments on clinical research have been also increasing. The number of human subjects that are involved in research have also increased since 1978. This fact has made researchers publish their materials and theories in different subjects since this information is unique and vital.

Today, the hard disks store the largest amount of new information as compared to any other storage media. They store about 92 percent of the new information that is produced annually. This information includes music mp3 and video mp4s. In contrast, films store about 7 percent of the new information. In addition, The United States Department of Commerce asserts that about 80 billion photographs are taken yearly all over the world . Each photo stores about 5 megabytes while each film stores about 4000 megabytes of new information. From these illustrations, it is evident that films are important storage media for new information. Lyman and Varian found out that the amount of new information that was stored in magnetic, optical, and paper media had doubled since the study they conducted in 2000. They state that such an increase of information was caused by the fact that paperless society had been gaining positions in the world. Although the amount of information that is printed on paper is still increasing, office documents and postal mails constitute the major part of printed information. The number of printed books and journals, on the other hand, is reducing since people prefer to read online journals and electronic books.

In 2003, Peter Lyman and Hal Varian extended their study to find out whether the amount of information produced each year had changed since the 2000 study. Four researchers, namely Nathan Good, Laheem Jordan, Peter Charles, and Joyojeet Pal participated in their study. According to the new findings, optical storage, film, print, and magnetic media produced more than 5 exabytes of new information in 2002. This was a significant increase as compared to 2 exabytes of information in 2000. According to the research, 5 exabytes of information is equivalent to the information that may be contained in about 37,000 new libraries. They compared these data with the information contained in the Library of Congress (the Library of Congress has about seventeen million books or 136 terabytes of information). This proves that the amount of information that is produced annually is very significant.

The study conducted in 2003 also revealed that radios, telephones, television, and the Internet produced more than 18 exabytes of new information in 2002. This is three and half times more as compared to the information that was recorded on the storage media of their study. Both mobile and landline phones provide more than 17.3 exabytes of new information. This information is stored in digital form. However, the study also revealed that most of the information that was disseminated by television and radio stations around the world was not new. Radio broadcasts about 320 million hours each year. Only 70 million hours of the broadcasted information or about 3,500 terabytes is original. In contrast, television stations broadcast around 123 million hours of information each year. However, only 31 million of the broadcasted hours are original programs. Instant messaging also contributes to the amount of information that is produced annually. The authors found out that it generated about 5 billion messages per day or about 750 gigabytes. In contrast, electronic mails generated around 400,000 terabytes of new information in 2002.

Overall, in 2000, Varian and Lyman found out that the world produces about two exabytes of information each year. They conducted another study in 2003 and found out that the world produced 18 exabytes of new information in 2002. It shows that the amount of information produced annually has been increasing instantly since 2000. This trend has been enhanced by the recent advancements in technology and means of communication.

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