, 85:28,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 18 Jan 2012

Neuropsychological constraints to human data production on a global scale

Abstract

Which are the factors underlying human information production on a global level? In order to gain an insight into this question we study a corpus of 252–633 mil. publicly available data files on the Internet corresponding to an overall storage volume of 284–675 Terabytes. Analyzing the file size distribution for several distinct data types we find indications that the neuropsychological capacity of the human brain to process and record information may constitute the dominant limiting factor for the overall growth of globally stored information, with real-world economic constraints having only a negligible influence. This supposition draws support from the observation that the files size distributions follow a power law for data without a time component, like images, and a log-normal distribution for multimedia files, for which time is a defining qualia.