An article in The Independent covering recent developments in Big data contains the following, suspiciously precise, claim:
By 2020, it's thought that the number of bytes will be 57 times greater than all the grains of sand on the world's beaches.
Is this claim remotely plausible? Is there even any remotely plausible way to validate it?
Note: There is a related claim in this question: Has 90% of the world's data been created in the last two years?. And, since part of the question is about sand I've used the geology tag. ;-) Any better suggestions?
Clarification I don't want the focus of this to be about our inability to predict the future or about extrapolation (unless there is strong evidence that argues against projecting data trends 6 years into the future). The focus should be on whether our knowledge of the current trends is good enough to give us a plausible estimate on the data side and our knowledge of the world is good enough to give a plausible estimate on the "grains of sand" side.