LSE hosted Viktor Mayer-Schönberger for a podcast discussion of his book, Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age. I’m a big fan of technology and its ability to shift information through space and time. Mayer-Schönberger describes significant downsides to this ability, and how it conflicts with human cognitive function.
Forgetting isn’t just loss, it is a curating process in which the necessary is separated from that which we don’t want or don’t need to carry forward. Forgetting defines and creates us as much as it destroys. By putting so much of ourselves online we lose control over that process, the cloud forgets nothing. Alternatively we could become luddites and withdraw from technology, but who would want to do that? Mayer-Schönberger suggests an alternative solution: building the ability to forget into cloud systems and making their function a little more human.