How much does it cost to archive all human audio-visual experiences? Bjorn Hohrmann speculated recently on the firstname.lastname@example.org list:
Everything anyone has ever heard or seen at good quality? Currently,
- Average global life expectancy ~ 68 years
- Approximate world population ~ 7 billion
- Typical DVD-quality SD bitrate ~ 1.25 mbps
- Cheap 2 TB hard drive pre-floods ~ 50 EUR
- 68 years * 1.25 mbps ~ 320 TB
- 320 TB * (50 EUR / 2 TB) ~ 10 thousand USD
- 10000 USD / 68 years in USD/month ~ 12 USD per month
- 12 USD per month * 7 billion ~ 1 trillion USD per year
Commercial pure storage plans seem to be around 100 EUR per TB per yearcurrently, which gives an upper bound of four times as much to account for replacing failing hardware and all sorts of other things.
If storage prices continue to develop as they have since the 1980s, it will be 0.1% of that, 1 to 4 billion USD per year, in a decade from now. And 10% of that if you cut out sleeping times and settle for smartphone video quality, $100 per life, if you can imagine that's what a 32 TB medium will cost in 2023.
We live in pretty interesting times.