INFORMATION CATASTROPHE:

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by paddoboy, Aug 11, 2020.

  1. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    https://phys.org/news/2020-08-digital-content-track-equal-earth.html

    Digital content on track to equal half Earth's mass by 2245:

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    Vopson wants to experimentally verify that information bits have mass, which he extrapolated to forecast in 225 years will be half of Earth's mass. Credit: Melvin Vopson

    As we use resources, such as coal, oil, natural gas, copper, silicon and aluminum, to power massive computer farms and process digital information, our technological progress is redistributing Earth's matter from physical atoms to digital information—the fifth state of matter, alongside liquid, solid, gas and plasma.

    Eventually, we will reach a point of full saturation, a period in our evolution in which digital bits will outnumber atoms on Earth, a world "mostly computer simulated and dominated by digital bits and computer code," according to an article published in AIP Advances.

    It is just a matter of time.

    "We are literally changing the planet bit by bit, and it is an invisible crisis," author Melvin Vopson said.

    Vopson examines the factors driving this digital evolution. He said the impending limit on the number of bits, the energy to produce them, and the distribution of physical and digital mass will overwhelm the planet soon.
    more at link..............

    the paper:
    https://aip.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/5.0019941


    The information catastrophe:

    ABSTRACT:
    Currently, we produce ∼1021 digital bits of information annually on Earth. Assuming a 20% annual growth rate, we estimate that after ∼350 years from now, the number of bits produced will exceed the number of all atoms on Earth, ∼1050. After ∼300 years, the power required to sustain this digital production will exceed 18.5 × 1015 W, i.e., the total planetary power consumption today, and after ∼500 years from now, the digital content will account for more than half Earth’s mass, according to the mass-energy–information equivalence principle. Besides the existing global challenges such as climate, environment, population, food, health, energy, and security, our estimates point to another singular event for our planet, called information catastrophe


     
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  3. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Question...
    Is this an example of science gone mad?
    The closest thing that I can remember was the so called Y2K BUG, which didn't eventuate.
    No, I'm not taking it too seriously, unless someone can show me why I should take it seriously?
     
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  5. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    I don't think so...

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    How does he think these bits are stored??

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  7. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    This reminds me of . . . every other failed prediction, ever.

    "In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate." - Erlichmann, 1968
    "There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will." - Einstein, 1926
    "This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” - Western Union, 1876
    “Rail travel at high-speed is not possible because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia.” - Dr. Lardner, 1830
    “No one will pay good money to get from Berlin to Potsdam in one hour when he can ride his horse there in one day for free.” - King William I, 1864
    "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.” - DEC, 1977
    "
    So many centuries after the Creation it is unlikely that anyone could find hitherto unknown lands of any value.” - Spain, 1486




     
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  8. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    An excellent point! And in any case why assume a straight line extrapolation for 350yrs?

    This Melvin Vopson guy hardly has a scintillating CV: https://www.port.ac.uk/about-us/structure-and-governance/our-people/our-staff/melvin-vopson

    The Universities of Central Lancashire and then Portsmouth? Hmm.
     
  9. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Nice list...the one above though, wasn't that Ernest Rutherford? From memory in a lecture in which one of the listeners was Leo Szillard? who was the first to speculate about splitting the atom and nuclear chain reactions?
     
  10. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    I can state flatly that heavier than air flying machines are impossible.
    — Lord Kelvin, 1895

    I have not the smallest molecule of faith in aerial navigation other than ballooning, or of the expectation of good results from any of the trials we heard of. So you will understand that I would not care to be a member of the Aeronautical Society.
    — Lord Kelvin, 1896
     
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  11. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    OK, this is what I was thinking of and recalled actually after reading the best book I have ever read...."The Making of the Atomic Bomb" by Richard Rhodes...a compltete history of late 19th century, early 20th century physics from Bequeral and Rhotegen, through to Curie and Misner and up to the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.....
    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00016-010-0038-1
    In the 1930s Ernest Rutherford (1871–1937) repeatedly suggested, sometimes angrily, that the possibility of harnessing atomic energy was “moonshine.” Yet, as war approached he secretly advised the British government to “keep an eye on the matter.” I suggest that Rutherford did not really believe his “moonshine” claim but did have profound reasons for making it. If I am correct, then this casts additional light on his personality, stature, and career.

    In 1918 Rutherford believed, on the basis of his satellite model of the nucleus, that the incident alpha particle expelled a proton from a nitrogen nucleus, leaving a residual carbon nucleus. Only later, in light of the cloud-chamber photographs taken by Patrick M.S. Blackett (1897–1974) in 1926, did Rutherford see that the incident alpha particle was captured by the nitrogen nucleus, leaving a residual oxygen nucleus. See Stuewer, "Rutherford's Satellite Model” (ref. 34), pp. 326–335.
     
  12. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    In a different dimension? But then that would not necessarily interfere with our dimensions, no?
     
  13. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    On page 27 of the Book, "The Making of the Atomic Bomb"
    https://www.pdfdrive.com/the-making-of-the-atomic-bomb-e167778780.html
    Without question Szilard read The Times of September 12, with its
    provocative sequence of headlines:
    THE BRITISH ASSOCIATION
    BREAKING DOWN
    THE ATOM
    TRANSFORMATION OF
    ELEMENTS

    Ernest Rutherford, The Times reported, had recited a history of "the discoveries of the last quarter of a century in atomic transmutation," including:
    THE NEUTRON
    NOVEL TRANSFORMATIONS

    All of which made Szilard restive. The leading scientists in Great Britain were meeting and he wasn't there. He was safe, he had money in the bank, but he was only another anonymous Jewish refugee down and out in London, lingering over morning coffee in a hotel lobby, unemployed and unknown.
    Then, midway along the second column of The Times' summary of Rutherford's speech, he found:
    HOPE OF TRANSFORMING ANY ATOM
    What, Lord Rutherford asked in conclusion, were the prospects 20 or 30 years ahead?
    High voltages of the order of millions of volts would probably be unnecessary as a means of accelerating the bombarding particles. Transformations might be effected with 30,000 or 70,000 volts .... He believed that we should be able to transform all the elements ultimately.
    We might in these processes obtain very much more energy than the proton supplied, but on the average we could not expect to obtain energy in this way. It was a very poor and inefficient way of producing energy, and any-one who looked for a source of power in the transformation of the atoms was
    talking moonshine.


    Did Szilard know what "moonshine" meant-"foolish or visionary
    talk"? Did he have to ask the doorman as he threw down the newspaper and stormed out into the street? "Lord Rutherford was reported to have said that whoever talks about the liberation of atomic energy on an industrial scale is talking moonshine. Pronouncements of experts to the effect that something cannot be done have always irritated me."
    "This sort of set me pondering as I was walking in the streets of London, and I remember that I stopped for a red light at the intersection of Southampton Row .... I was pondering whether Lord Rutherford might not prove to be wrong."

    more.....
     
  14. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    I wonder if the author takes miniaturization into account.

    Both the volume of storage required and the amount of power required are shrinking fast.
     
  15. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

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    would it be considered rude to say polaron harmonic encoding ?
     
  16. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    But I think gmilam's point in post 3 still stands. It is pretty hard to conceive of any data storage system that requires less than one atom in the memory per bit stored.

    Extrapolation of the current trend, in a technology that has existed for only about 50 years, for a further 350 seems like a pretty meaningless exercise.
     
  17. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    Of course, he did say "on Earth". I guess we might be able to turn Jupiter into a hard drive... and use Saturn as a back up.

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  18. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    The increase in information is a direct result of increases in the number of transistor devices per silicon chip. The industry has reached a bit of a plateau with the overall dimensions on-chip; there is a lot of investment in fabrication tech which is also holding back the development of even smaller junctions, upgrading the chip-making machinery will be expensive when or if upgrades arrive. Right now the industry is focused on maintaining what it has.

    Nonetheless there is a lot of research into making junctions even smaller, and into packing more devices into smaller spaces. The problem then becomes what to do with the heat generated, i.e. there is a cost (isn't there always).
     
  19. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

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    will climate change mean we will lose cloud storage ?
    where will i put my data ?

    pollution levels
    plastic waste
    fossil fuels
    starvation
    unemployment
    lack of affordable health care
     
  20. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Moreover Moore's Law is ending due to the problem of proximity.
    This explains.
     
  21. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 70 years old Valued Senior Member

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    How would you overcome the lag problem when retrieving data?

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  22. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    The other end of the information catastrophe is whether old information is kept, or even maintained so it stays reliable (viz old NASA floppies and tapes, film stock).

    Or whether we can store X amount of information reliably for ever.
     
  23. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 70 years old Valued Senior Member

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    Apart from being interesting for historical purpose what use is so much of information currently doing the rounds being as it is so outdated?

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