# Future Storage Thoughts...

Planning for the future, what amount of personal storage will people have and what will they use it for? (Personal storage either physically located at home, on person or in a personal cloud).

Today people have about 1TB of storage in their PC. That’s only about 10 hours of 4k video.
For 16k VR this goes down to about 2.5 hours.

Imagine we had a headmounted camera that captured every second of our lives.
1 day would take about 10TB.
1 year would be about 3.5 Petabytes
And 100 years would be 350 Petabytes.

We might want a bit of spare capacity. So let’s round that up to an 1 Exobyte of storage. (1 million TB)

This would be enough that we could relive any day of our lives in virtual reality. Which we may be required to do in such things as court cases etc. Or just for fun.

Probably people would also like to store the live recordings of some of their relatives so we can multiply that by 10-100. But that might be kept on the cloud.

So after about 100 Exobytes I can’t really think what any more personal storage we would need. Perhaps for some kind of video editing purposes by mashing up various live recordings together.

So we should see the Exobyte storage around 2055 would be my guess.

So if storage continued after this time, what could it possibly be used for?

Well what other information is on a human body?
DNA, neural synapses, cellular chemistry…
DNA only takes a few GB and much less if we are just recording changes to a standard DNA strand.
But maybe we are recording every mutation in every cell of the body.
There are 37.2 trillion cells in a human. Each cell might pick up 4000 mutations over a lifetime. This could be stored in about 16kb each. (Each mutation stored as a 32bit word).
So that information would only be about 150 Petabytes. So even that would not exceed an Exobyte.

We have about 100 trillion synapses in the brain. And recording the strength of each synapse might be another Petabyte or so. But if we were to record every synapse firing over our lifetime (200 times a second) we might need 1/2 trillion Petabytes. Then we would be able to recreate a humans thoughts and experiences once they died.

So I’m going out on a limb and saying that a human will never need more than a trillion Petabytes or 1000 Yottabytes of personal storage. (There isn’t even a name for it!) That is: 1000,000,000,000,000 TB. Probably first available in the year 2105.

Considering water has about 3 x 10^25 molecules in a litre of water. If an ice crystal encoded each bit on a single molecule. We would need about 30 litres of ice to store this data. Which is about 30cm x 30cm x 30cm cube of ice. Just small enough to fit under your desk.

Let’s say we want to fully digitze a human. As in record position of every single atom in the body. For simplicity sake let’s assume that it takes twelve bytes per atom. It isn’t true, but for simplicity’s sake.

Number of atoms in human body is 710^27. Multiplying this by twelve, we get. 8.410^28.

That’s over yottabyte.

Now… we digitze the galaxy. With atomic precision. Estimated number of atoms per galaxy is 2.4*10^67. Yottabyte is merely 10^24 (metric).

So, there will be never enough storage.

How’s it related to unity and gamedev anyway?

Speaking of more realistic applications, a hologram with millimeter precision shot in a decently sized room would have a volume in ballpark of 35 cubic meters (14 square meter room, 2.5 meter ceiling), and would contain 3.5*10^10 cubic millimeter voxels. Running at 60 fps with RGB color encoding (for simplicity’s sake), it would be about 50.4 terabit per second, so one hour of such footage, uncompressed, will be 22.5 petabytes. That’s something to consider.

Additionally, it wouldn’t be surprising that we WON’T reach unlimited storage size, due to some limitation. Like transfer speed.

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Personal storage was rapidly increasing for a long time, but stalled in the last decade for a couple reasons. The primary reason is the move from spinning HDD’s to SSD’s. HDD’s continued increasing in capacity during this transition, even though home desktops haven’t been using them. Unless you work in IT, you may not even realize you can pick up 16TB HDD’s now.

Secondarily personal storage stalled because it physically shrank as it went mobile, or as it became cloud storage. Getting smaller to fit into your phone, or squeezed through a broadband or 4G pipe to a data center.

As for how much storage you’ll actually need, well that is hard to predict. Though some of the examples above are pretty nonsensical. The average person uses personal storage primarily for entertainment, not DNA sequencing. I can’t fathom a future where a person would need to actually store their own DNA on their own drive. Their doctor or some other specialist may well do so, but that would be business related storage, not personal at that point.

Storage sizes will continue to grow. Accessing huge amounts of data like that will always take time, so I’m assuming that the speeds to access data will increase also. Then there is the heat generated, so, cooling systems need to improve also.

Storage sizes will grow, sure, but that’s not the only thing you have to consider. Remember that internet speeds as accessed by the average person in a lot of countries increases very slowly and bandwidth caps are a thing. I’m on unlimited now, but there are a lot of ISPs in Canada where you get 100gb of bandwidth per month and if you go over that, it’s \$0.50 - \$2.00 per each additional gb.

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There is no need for going such granular scale, to save every atom. Unless is strictly scientific purpose.

Even going atomic small as cell size, we can create group of cells, which have own functions. You just need store definition of such cell. Then using reference, to create tissue, organs and eventually body.

Even there is no need for storing whole DNA, as need to know main reference DNA and use genes and their position, and weather they are active, or not. Tho how some labs function, where they are experimenting with individual sequencing of genes, rather focusing on whole DNA.

Consider work. Having chair. Having definition of chairs, variations and mutations. Now consider having DNA of chairs, rather storing every atom of the chair.

So using components of the world.

In such way, we could digitalize world and Universe, requiring significantly less memory.

Similar tricks are used in procedural generated games. Minecraft, spore, NMS, factorio, etc. And many more.

Is just like using prefabs in the end.

If we can digitalize realistically our daily life, using cloud base storages, we then would reduce need for such massive video storage. Instead, we could store sequences as animations of objects, like trees, buildings, life forms, whether etc. And we could upscale to any video streaming quality. Far beyond 8k.

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Based on my time working in tech, the answer to how much storage is that no matter how much storage you give people, they will always find a way to fill it all up.

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Just a friendly reminder that this forum is for discussing game development, let’s make sure to stay on track with game related discussion. There is plenty to discuss about memory and data related to game development.

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This is related to future game development. In 100 years time or so when we can create games from the uploaded thoughts of our ancestors and relive them in VR.

He asked for an example, I gave it.

Going for atomic scale would make sense if you’re running evolutionary simulation for the purposes of bioengineering and want to test behavior in target environment, although vast optimizations would be certainly possible. Currently we use atomic scale for protein folding, as far as I know.

There is a limit to how much I’m willing to suspend my disbelief that something can be related to game development and discussions about concepts so far in the future that any attempt to predict them will be completely inaccurate isn’t one of them.

Science fiction scenarios aside, by the time we reach 1000 yottabites of storage available for an average consumer, That will be a minimum amount of space on system drive required to instal windows 2100. Or to run GTA 181.

The reason for that is that software currently is not being developed in maximally efficient manner. We waste storage, memory, CPU power, because it is possible to throw hardware on the problem and such approach kept working for last 20 years or so. As a result, hardware keeps improving, but responsiveness of a system made now can be similar to that of a 30 years old ms-dos terminal. Despite massive increase in computing power.

Because of this approach, as more and more storage becomes available, people will be wasting more and more of it. So it isn’t difficult to envision a machine with 1000 yottabytes of junk and temporary files on the storage device.

Of course, this is a bit overdramitized, but it is, IMO, reasonable to expect software to produce enough waste to keep up with increasing storage volume.

In case of games, latest high definition titles can easily require over a hundred gigabytes of space. Red Dead Redemption 2 is 150 gigabytes. Lower fidelity games from previous generations required less. The number will probably keep going up unless they hit practical limit of developer team size.

The only limit is one’s imagination.

Sure, but we’re game devs now, not a century from now. Even estimating past five years ahead isn’t productive in a lot of cases.

Indeed. Additionally, this isn’t a hardware development forum. No one here is creating or in the hardware side of things, speculating about things we have no impact on, clearly don’t understand, and aren’t even going to alive to see is… not for here (to put it nicely)

Yea… this forum is for discussing real, current game development. Closing for being pointless.

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