In the original article,1 the author compared his estimates with three reference values: (a) the number of atoms on Earth, (b) the total planetary power requirements today, and (c) the mass of the Earth. The rough estimate of the total planetary power requirement today is around 18.5 TW, or 18.5 × 1012 W. In the original article, the power value is quoted correctly as 18.5 TW. Unfortunately, a numerical typo has been detected and the quoted value in engineering format is 18.5 × 1015 W, which is wrong.

This value is neither the product of calculations performed in this article nor an estimate of this work, and it is only offered as a comparison term to our estimates.

While this value is inaccurate, the error does not change anything in the rationale, the numerical calculations of the article, and its main conclusions. However, when the power comparison is performed using the correct value, the moment when the required power exceeds the planetary consumption of today is slightly sooner. The new values are 4500 years instead of 5200 at 1% growth, 918 years instead of 1060 at 5% growth, 246 years instead of 285 at 20% growth, and around 110 years instead of 130 at 50% growth. This is because log10(18.5 × 1015) ≈ 16.3, while using the correct value, log10(18.5 × 1012) ≈ 13.3, which is only marginally different to the previously used incorrect comparison value. The unintended error appears on page 3 of the article and in the abstract.

The author would like to thank Anton Konovalov from for pointing out this error.

M. M.
, “
The information catastrophe
AIP Adv.