Just how much of our life can fit on a hard drive? (2 TB)

If you’re a writer, then your hard drive will fail long before you ever fill it up. At 1000 words per hour, with each word being on average 6 letters, and chugging mouth loads of caffeine trying to write until your fingers whither and die,  that means you’ll fill up a drive in roughly 3e8 hours or 38000 years. Considering the average lifespan of a hard drive is roughly 10 years, good luck writing. Thankfully, you don’t have to pass your Hard Drive off to the next 600 generations of offspring as their birthright to fill up the family hard drive with some sort of writing. Since they can’t actually go out and experience anything because of their need to type, it’s probably better off that they don’t write all day and night.

You see this? This is what you'll be doing when I die.
You see this, son? This is what you’ll be doing when I die.

If you choose to save your precious moments by photograph, then your hard drive will be a bit more practical than as a writer. With my 12 MP camera, my photos come out to roughly 4 MB per photo. But, I don’t necessarily keep all of photos either. I might keep ~10% of them unless I was extremely picky about when I would actually shoot, then I might keep 1 in 3 of them. So let’s keep a life album, one picture per second of our waking lives. Assuming we’re away 16 our of the 24 hours, then we can store roughly a week’s worth of our life on a hard drive or 500,000 photos. “But my life isn’t exciting every second of it.” Fine then. We’ll keep one per minute then which leaves us with 1.5 years of our waking life being recorded on our hard drive. If we tossed out a third to 10% of these photos, then we can fit up to 15 years of memories in still life.

If we choose to capture every conversation, then we can capture roughly as many minutes as MB of conversation. This means that we can cover roughly 4 years of doing nothing but talking, or 5 years of our waking hours of straight talking. Talking when we wake, shower, poop, mouth full of food, all with a mic in front of our face.

If video was our medium of choice, then we could only deal with a few hundred hours of our life being remembered. With good video compression, we could get roughly 83 days of video stored on the hard drive.

If we were a gamer, then our lives could be encapsulated by the games that we play and the amount of time in each game that we play. 300 hours on World of Warcraft, 250 hours on League of Legends, 100 hours on Diablo 2. We can fit a considerable amount of our lives on a 2TB Hard Drive, except that these experiences are temporary. The memory of them, of our work and of our lives, are lost unless we use some other mediums to express them and share them.

What’s also interesting is the tradeoffs of using each medium. Text isn’t a live medium but one of describing the past. Text and audio allow of verboseness, but then you lose the imagery then requiring flowery words to paint the picture for you. Pictures lose the sounds and excitement from the live moment. Videos require a lot of space and hard to deal with.

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