Thursday, April 29, 2010

Forget, if you can

In Delete, Viktor Mayer-Schonberger traces the important role that forgetting has played throughout human history and analyses the manner in which this virtue has been undermined by digital technology. The trouble, argues Viktor, is that cheap storage and easy retrieval do not allow outdated information and compromising pictures to fade away. The past is ever present, ready to be called up at the click of a mouse.

In reality, however, forgetting is central to human experience whereas the difficulty of remembering is an implicit result of the second law of thermodynamics. Viktor has philosophical take on his work of extraordinary breadth and erudition, delving into new dilemma of `privacy’ created by extensive documentation of our daily lives. Bill Clinton had introduced e-mail to the White House only to be embarrassed later as some of his intimate e-mails resurfaced in public.

Delete broadens the `privacy’ debate to encompass the dimensions of time. It provides well-balanced account of the challenges we face in a world where our digital traces are saved for life....more (the link will appear soon)

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