Microsoft is a company that has always been at the forefront of technology, even if their image hasn’t always suggested that. They do have a reputation for being the favored OS of the older set, but they are actually quite an innovative company. They have recently proved their innovative worth by investing in about 10 million strands of DNA from DNA data storage company Twist Bioscience. The company has been researching data storage in DNA and has found that it is actually possible to store data in DNA. Just one gram of DNA can hold one zettabyte of information, which is the equivalent of one billion terabytes. That’s a whole lot of storage!
The applications for this technology are plentiful. Twist hopes to use the DNA to store data that can be inserted into microbes to create chemicals that could be helpful in different areas of science. It’s not clear how Microsoft plans to use the technology. Twist itself performs the writing of data onto the DNA with custom machines they have made. They have also discovered that the data on the DNA can be retrieved fully. This data storage type has positive implications for the future. Some experts believe that the data storage will be faithful for around 500 years, while others put that time frame as thousands of years, which is much more than that harddrive you bought 10 years ago which is already obsolete.
The other benefit to this technology is that the costs of this type of work are going down all the time. In the past twenty years simply the costs associated with creating the technology have gone down from billions to mere thousands. The implications and possibilities for this technology are somewhat endless. While some fear it could lead to a cinematic future that too many dystopian movies have warned us about, others see the benefits of long-term reliable storage for huge amounts of data that can be easily managed.
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