The world will run out of data storage capacity in 181 years. This will happen even if every atom on earth were used to store digital data.

Data powers the digital revolution and is the reason for the boom in big data industries today.

NUS scientists predict that when the world does run out of storage, the internet would be shut down. No one would be able to communicate through digital technology “since every new word that you type or every new phone call that you make requires some free storage.”

The amount of data produced by the world is estimated to balloon by 10 times in the next decade, a problem that is set to see storage becoming the next “fossil fuel”. Last year, global storage firm Seagate and IT research firm International Data Corporation showed that 16 zettabytes of data were created last year.

A regular computer hard drive today is around a terabyte (TB) in size, while a zettabyte is a billion times that.

By 2025, annual data creation will swell to a total of 163ZB, and nearly 20 per cent of it will be critical to people’s daily lives.

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