19 January 2013
The world’s middle class is growing rapidly, both in size and influence. By 2030, it is expected to reach 5 billion people—2 billion more than today. As a consequence, the needs and expectations of the middle class are an essential part of global conversation everywhere. This is especially true in developing countries, where access to the internet is spreading rapidly.
What standard of living awaits those who will join the middle class between now and 2030? The United States has a big part to play. How America encourages and leverages innovation in the coming years will shape the world’s future in profoundly important ways.
Like the middle class, Big Data is also growing at unprecedented rates. Last year humanity created the data equivalent of a stack of books stretching from the Earth to Pluto—30 times. To be more precise, an IDC study estimated that 1.8 zettabytes of data was created in 2011. This is the equivalent of 200 billion two-hour HD movies. All of this data is amassing from email and social media, audio and video downloads, online shopping, business server logs, industrial, environmental, and surveillance sensors, and more.