First, you have the rate at which storage capacities are increading. In Febuary the top of the line hard drive was a 250 GB model. This 400 Gb model is a 62.5 5 increase in capacity, in only 9 months. Extending that timescale out, you would expect storage capacity to double about every 14 months or so (it's usually been 14-18 months for this to happen). So by this time next year we will have 750 GB hard drives. In ten years we will have hard drives capable of storing over 100 terabytes of information (if the doubling rule holds true, which it probably won't). This is a mindblowing amount of storage. This 400 Gb hard drive, it can hold approximatly 700000 copies of Fight Club (the only book I have on my computer). That file is in PDF format, so if you made it into a plaintext file, I'm sure you could fix quite a bit more onto the hard drive. So lets round some numbers: say 850000 copies of Fight Club on the 400 GB hard drive in plain text format. Hard drives in ten years will be able to hold about 213 MILLION copies of the book. Insane.
So i'm getting to my point. My point is, what is all this storage space going to be used for? Besides pr0n, that is. I was thinking about this, and I remembered something I read a long time ago about how the human brain can store a similalrly mind-bogglingly huge amount of data. It got me to thinking, "What makes up our personalities? What colors up as people?" Memories. Experiences. Learned lessons. DATA. Don't think about the data that is stored as a text file or a video. You have to consider the entire range of sensory perception we have. This makes the memories much more complex than your average video file. Even taking that into consideration, 100 terabytes of storage is huge. What if we started to store our memories as data? A backup of our memories, in full fidelity. Wouldn't that copy, for lack of a better word, soul into the machine? It's crazy to think of it, but it just may happen. I mean, CPUs can already operate faster than our brains can. So isn't the deciding factor memory density and capacity?
If you do some math on that, well, in twenty years we will be sitting on pedabyte level storage capacities. Suddenly Ghost in the Shell being set 20 years in the future doesn't seem all that off.
I am glad I live in such exciting times.