When work and life get stressful, I like to stop, take a deep breath and take a few moments to put things in perspective. I have found the incredibly talented speakers at TED to be a great way to inspire and set me straight. Recently, it was a fascinating discussion about the origins of life.
Consider, for instance, the fact that modern humans have only inhabited the earth for 200,000 years. To put this in perspective, if the earth was 24 hours old, we have only existed for the last minute and 15 seconds. More interestingly, we did not start roaming the earth until about 70,000 years ago when the last ice age cut our population down to an estimated 2,000 people, and we were forced to seek new lands to inhabit.
We went from the verge of extinction to where we are today in a relatively remarkable short period of time. Now that’s perspective.
This perspective continues when you consider just how far the Internet has progressed in just 20 years. Consider, for instance, that to reach 50 million users, it took the telephone 75 years, but the Internet only four. More impressive, the Angry Birds app needed only 35 days.
If that does not blow your mind, consider just a few of these other amazing statistics about the Internet, all of which have evolved over the past two decades.
1. There are 47 billion websites, including the first website ever created more than 24 years ago. While estimates vary about the percent of total websites that are dedicated to adult content, I am convinced that if they removed them all, the Internet would cease to exist.
2. There are 3.2 billion Internet users worldwide, accounting for almost 44 percent of the global population. Almost half of all Internet users are based in Asia. Unfortunately, the other half are holding up lines at Starbucks.
3. There are 950 million households worldwide with a television, but twice as many people access the Internet from a handheld device. Interestingly, only a fraction of these people know (or care) that their device also serves as a telephone.
4. YouTube visitors view 6 billion hours of video each month, and over 300 minutes of video are uploaded every second. Interestingly, 80 percent of visitors are from outside the US. All of this explains why Americans are so misunderstood around the world.
5. There are 1.49 billion people on Facebook ( more than in China) who use the social-media site an average of 21 minutes every day and share 1.3 million pieces of content every minute. The best way to avoid most of that content is by simply blocking all baby pictures.
6. Facebook accounts for the highest percentage of total time spent on mobile apps, 18 percent, and when you add Facebook Messenger and Instagram to the mix, this total reaches 22.4 percent. The second highest percentage spent on mobile apps was on Pandora, which accounted for only 10.5 percent. This implies that when Facebook develops it own music streaming service, we can pretty much shut everything else down.
7. There are between 5 and 10 million iOS apps downloaded every day, and more than 100 billion total apps downloaded as of June 2015. That total would be far lower had I noticed my 4 year old downloading apps on our iPad sooner.
8. In 2015, we will send and receive 205.6 billion emails, almost 60 percent of which will be spam. Unfortunately, my spam filters still have yet to figure out that I have enough hair, don’t want to work from home and have no relatives in Africa.
9. It is estimated that we will take 1 trillion photos in 2015. In 2000, we took only 86 billion photos. Unfortunately for all of humanity, most of that increase can be attributed to duck-faced selfies.
10. While all of these statistics are amazing, the reality is that the web as we know it -- Facebook, Amazon, Wikipedia, etc. -- represents only 1 percent of the total discoverable web. The remainder is the “ deep web,” or that which is not discoverable by means of standard search engines. I am fairly certain this is where my lost set of keys has gone.
Again, it is difficult to fathom the incredible evolution of technology over such a remarkably brief period of time, but it is fun to imagine what life will look like in just a few short years.
And, in honor of a movie about our future, Back to the Future II, which in 1989 took our hero, Marty McFly, to Oct. 21, 2015, let us rejoice that the hover board he used in his exciting escape may very well come to fruition on time.