The Growth of Big Data is Unfathomable

“The Tale of Two Americas” continues to unfold side by side — the better relying on one, investable trend that you can act on today (more on that in a moment).

One America is defined by out-of-control debt, wealth consumption, and increasing government control. It’s a doom-and-gloom scenario you’ve likely tried to put out of sight and out of mind, and yet couldn’t wholly shake because you’ve got good instincts.

We covered that side of the coin back in 2006 with our I.O.U.S.A. documentary. As you may already know, we warned the public of America’s grave fiscal condition that would ultimately come to a head in 2007-08. Granted, that tale had its own perks. Our readers made 461% with put options on Lehman Bros., to name only one of our recommended plays.

But it’s the other America we turn to now that we’re much more excited about…

The other America is a brighter one. Its plot is full of characters with can-do attitudes that put themselves to the test. They focus on innovation, hard work and wealth creation.  They’re the entrepreneurs, the risk-takers, and the heroes of our economy — if you will.

It’s this second, more hopeful tale that, historically, tends to show up just in time. It’s a trend that occurs rapidly after times of great financial reckoning. In fact, innovation must follow disaster for societies to bounce back… or go extinct.

That’s why in 2009, we set out to cover this second tale, again documentary style.

As our guide, we chose venture capitalist Juan Enriquez. And who better?

Juan is a great many things; among them:

  • Managing director of Excel Medical Ventures, a VC firm
  • Chair and CEO of Biotechonomy, a research and investment firm that provides seed capital for new genomic ventures
  • Founder of Harvard’s Life Sciences department, and author of many works that study the intersection of science, business and society.

Besides Juan, we consulted with Clayton Christensen, author of The Innovator’s Dilemma (one of Steve Jobs’ favorites), among other works; Dr. Michael West, CEO and founder of BioTime; Chris Anderson, former editor-in-chief of Wired magazine; Craig Venter, the most cited scientist on the entire planet; and many others.

The Engine of Growth Over the Last 30 Years

According to Juan, the engine of growth over the last 30 years started with our ability to use digital code.

Not only has it created computers and all the technology that we take for granted, but it has completely changed how we communicate… going from speaking in a language of ABCs to a language of ones and zeroes.

Examining data… making connections and correlations… order out of chaos… is nothing new… In fact, the first data miner can be traced back to 1662.

Needless to say, a lot has changed in 350 years. In a world where your iPhone becomes obsolete every six months, the recent acceleration of new technologies is unprecedented.

We are more “connected” now than at any other time in history. The devices that we carry with us at all times — our smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc. — are making that connectedness possible.

These devices give off a stream of data, and the amount each and every human is generating is more than anyone ever thought possible.

“And,” says Juan, “it is generating more wealth than any other single thing in history,” whether directly or indirectly. This surge of 1s and 0s is what is being referred to as “Big Data”… and this long-term trend is just at the beginning.

Every second, we are generating so much data that scientists are running out of ways to describe it.

“I don’t want to alarm anyone,” said Andrew McAfee, research scientist at MIT, “but we’re about to run out of metric system.”

Right now, scientists consider us to be in the zettabyte era, and after that, there’s only one prefix left to describe the amount of data we’re producing: yotta.

After yotta — there are literally no words to describe the amount of data we will have in the world.

Welcome to the Age of Big Data

“The term itself is vague, but it is getting at something that is real,” says Jon Kleinberg, Cornell computer scientist. “Big Data is a tagline for a process that has the potential to transform everything.”

Taken together, everything from sensors to social media to the billions of smartphones and iPads creates 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day.

To break that amount down: One feature film on DVD is equal to 1 gigabyte.

If you took 5 billion DVDs to a football stadium and laid them all out on the field, they would all stack up to the height of the stadium.

That’s equivalent to all of the data that was produced from the beginning of human history to just over 10 years ago.

Then, in 2003, humanity created that same amount of data — 5 billion DVDs worth — in one year.

In 2011, we created that amount of data every two days.

This year, we’ve created that amount of data every 10 minutes.

The prediction is that two years from now, that amount of data will be created every two seconds.

The future of Big Data shall be interesting indeed.


Josh Grasmick

P.S. Now that you know most of the money in the past 30 years has come from the ones and zeroes of computer code, what about the next 10 years? In today’s issue of my Tomorrow in Review newsletter, I gave readers an exclusive chance to discover a new technology worth millions that you might want to invest in. It’s just one small benefit of being a free subscriber. Don’t miss out on a slew of great opportunities just like this. Sign up for FREE, right here.

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