How many grams does a 1GB of data weigh? - The Happy Android

Information is an abstract concept. It has no mass until we make a physical representation of it. For example, if we write a mathematical equation, or a paragraph of Don Quixote on a sheet of paper with a pencil, the information captured on it will cause the sheet to undergo an increase in weight equivalent to the graphite particles that have stuck to it. paper. A minimal amount, but measurable after all.

Now, what happens when there is no "physical" support as such? What happens when, for example, we download a video on the tablet, install a game on the computer or take a photo with the mobile? Could we determine an actual weight gain on our device? How many grams do all those megabytes of photos weigh, or that file of more than 10 gigabytes that we have stored on our hard drive?

Can the data (information) have a quantifiable physical weight?

Data storage devices, such as flash drives or hard drives, use electrons to capture and record information. The smallest unit of information in computing is the bit, which can have a binary value of 0 or 1.

Well, to "record" that bit (0/1) in an electronic device, systems use electrons, using a single electron to charge a tiny transistor that will determine the binary value of that small information cell.

Note: the real explanation is much more complex, but if you want to know more you can get more detailed information in the following Wikipedia entry.

Therefore, in the same way that the graphite in the pen has a certain weight, no matter how small, the electrons also have mass, and consequently the information they transmit also represents a slight increase in weight in the device in which they are placed. stores.

What is the weight in grams of a 1 Gigabyte of data?

As you can imagine, electrons have a tiny weight. To give us an idea, to send a simple 50KB email with some text - and maybe an image if we get fancy - around 8 billion electrons are needed.

From the outset these may seem like a lot of electrons, but if we take into account that a single electron has a weight of 908 x 10 ^ -30 grams, that means that the email does not weigh even a quadrillionth of a gram. Too small a figure to visualize? Let's try to give a more “macro” example.

Using Einstein's formula e = mc², Professor John D. Kubiatowicz, a computer scientist at the University of California, calculated that filling a Kindle with 4GB of data (ebooks in this case) increases the weight of the device by 0.000000000000000001 grams. Or put another way, each Gigabyte (GB) of information it would have a weight of 0.00000000000000000025 grams.

A figure so small that even when we charge the battery of that same Kindle to the maximum the weight of the device increases 100 million times more than when we fill it with books. In short, when our mobile, tablet or PC are full of data, information and documents, their weight increases, yes, but it is such a small weight that it is barely perceptible by standard measurement tools.

How much does the Internet weigh?

Years ago, Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, came to calculate that the Internet contained around 5 million Terabytes of information, which would be equivalent to about 50 grams of weight. That is, we could put together all the photos, videos, emails, documents and web pages in the world and they would not weigh or a tenth of what a tennis ball weighs. Or as they comment in this very interesting video of VSauce, its weight would be similar to that of a ripe strawberry.

However, according to the most recent studies, 90% of all the data currently found on the Internet has been uploaded in the last 2 years, which would give us to understand that the current weight of the large network of networks would be very higher, reaching a figure of about 140 grams.

Data that, in any case, may vary depending on the calculation methods that we want to use. If we consider the communication capacity of the Internet, that is, the data that is sent between servers and clients, streaming and other information, according to the Cisco Visual Networking Index Initiative (2016), the total information transferred through the Internet would be 2 Zettabytes per year, or what is the same 2 billion Terabytes.

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