"As we enter the post-PC era, consumers are using multiple connected devices, the majority of which are equipped with cameras. This is leading to a massive increase in new user-generated content that requires storage," according to Shalini Verma, principal research analyst at Gartner, who was chosen to break the bad news to the rest of us about the bad-data apocalypse, but apparently spoke his lines without screaming or panic as the rest of us would have.
"With the emergence of the personal cloud, this fast-growing consumer digital content will quickly get disaggregated from connected devices," Verma said.
In this case "disaggregated" means people with cameras on every little digital thing will take pictures, record audio and send everything they've ever stored into the cloud, then forget where it is, how (or whether) to delete it and why they shouldn't put up another copy of the same set of files to an account they created because they forgot the username on the first one.
Astounding numbers (with silly names): Disastrous results from consumer empowerment
In 2011 only seven percent of the data consumers hoard was stored in the cloud. By 2016, 36 percent of consumer data will be stored in the cloud, Gartner predicts.
That's an increase in percentages of 514 percent.
I admit, using the percent-change between two percentages is a pretty lame way to describe the shift in technical awareness, online resources and ubiquitous data-access that will allow ordinary people to store so much data in the cloud.
Unfortunately, the legitimate way to describe it – using the specific numbers Gartner used to project the result in five years of current trends in consumer-data storage – is far more ridiculous because of the unbelievable quantities of almost-entirely useless data involved.
(It's also ridiculous because once you get past exabyte, which sounds kind of silly, you're into measurements units like zettabytes, yottabytes, xonabytes and vundabytes, all of which are perfectly legitimate and sound exactly like words made up by toddlers who figure the bigger the word they use to ask for it, the more candy they'll eventually get.)