2013 by the Numbers

Amazing Stories July 1927As we gaze back at the year behind us, it is becoming easier to see our world slipping into a science fiction reality. The amazing events and technology dreamed about by science fiction fans and authors over the last century are taking root in the present. What follows are some useless facts that may interest only me. I present 2013 by the numbers.

  • Amazing Stories Magazine was founded in 1926.
  • On July 1, 1927, there were 2 billion humans living on Earth.
  • On January 1, 2014, there are 7.2 billion humans living on Earth.
  • During 2013 the population grew by 81 million humans.
  • Today more humans live in China and India than lived on the entire planet in 1927.
  • China and India make up 36.7% of the Earth’s population
  • During peak season 800 people live in Antarctica. This represents 0.00000011% of Earth’s population.
  • It is estimated that there have been over 106 billion unique humans to have ever lived on planet Earth.
  • Today 3 humans live in space on board the International Space Station. (Visitors swell the number to 10 a few times a year.)
  • International Space StationVirgin Galactic is preparing to fly tourists into space for the low price of $250,000 per human.
  • Currently 0 humans live on Mars. (This number could reach 4 or more in the next decade.)
  • The Mars One foundation has received more than 200,000 applications to live on Mars.
  • At least 8.3 million robots live on planet Earth. (Broadening the definition of robot could place the number in the 100s of millions.)
  • Currently 2 robots live on Mars.
  • In 2013, Google, one of the world’s leading research groups and designer of the Android mobile OS, purchased 8 robotics companies.
  • Google X, the secret research branch of Google, signed 2 of the greatest minds in artificial intelligence research (Peter Norvig and Ray Kurzweil) to join their robotics initiative.
  • Apple announced they will invest more than $10.8 billion in robotics development and research.
  • Virgin Galactic accepts payment on its rocket ships with US dollars, pounds, euros, and bitcoins. Bitcoins are a form of virtual money that have a current unit value of more than $700 each.
  • There are more than 12 million bitcoins in “existence”, with a value over $8.4 billion.
  • Approximately 25 new bitcoins are created every 10 minutes. Bitcoins are publicly traded as a market commodity around the world, primarily in China and Japan.
  • The bitcoin system will only allow 21 million bitcoins into circulation. Computer farms are set up around the world to mine new bitcoins from the system by answering complex math equations.
  • In 2013, the FBI seized more than $28 million worth of bitcoins when it shut down the Silk Road. The Silk Road used the dark web to create a black market version of Amazon to trade in illegal activities and substances using bitcoins. The dark web exists beneath the surface on server farms across the world.
Google Server Farm

Google Server Farm

  • Google, Amazon and Microsoft collectively own more than 3 million computers operating in massive server farms all across the world. This represents around 6% of the servers in the world, proving no matter how virtual our money or worlds become, we still require hardware.
  • There are more than 1.584 billion smartphones in the world—enough to equip 22% of the humans on Earth. Is it possible to reach 100%?
  • Movies released in 2013 grossed over $10 billion in the US.
  • Science fiction, fantasy, and horror films made up over $5 billion of the US revenue.
  • Only 2 of the top 13 grossing films of 2013 were not science fiction, fantasy, or horror. It could be argued that Despicable Me 2, one of those two films, is science fiction.
  • Over 2 million new books or new editions of books were published in 2013. (Not including self-publishing.) That is one new title for every 3,600 humans on Earth.

Virgin Galactic In the last year, we have seen our world become more virtual. We have witnessed the expansion of technology at an ever-increasing rate. How long before the robots outnumber the humans? How quickly will the population of Mars grow? As amazing as 2013 was, I look forward to an even better 2014. I plan on sitting back and reading the latest book on my smartphone while my robots mine bitcoins so I can eventually save up enough to fly into space. Happy New Year.

R.K. Troughton works as an engineer, developing tomorrow’s high-tech gadgets that protect you from the forces of evil as well as assist your doctor in piecing you back together.  His passion for science fiction and fantasy has been fed through decades of consumption.  He is the author of numerous science fiction and fantasy screenplays and short stories, and his debut novel is forthcoming. His articles appear every Wednesday morning on Amazing Stories.

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