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Live Stage: The Virtue of Forgetting [us online + Cambridge, MA]

The Berkman Center for Internet and Society presents DELETE: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age — A book talk with Professor Viktor Mayer-Schönberger :: October 7, 2009; 6:00 pm :: Pound Hall Room 335, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA and webcast live.

By now the perils of posting indiscrete photographs or information on social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace are well known — jobs are lost or denied, reputations diminished, and families destroyed by a single click. But the problem is far greater than this, argues Viktor Mayer-Schönberger in DELETE: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age.

DELETE argues that in our quest for perfect digital memories where we can store everything from recipes and family photographs to work emails and personal information, we’ve put ourselves in danger of losing a very human quality — the ability and privilege of forgetting. Our digital memories have become double-edged swords — we expect people to “remember” information that is stored in their computers, yet we also may find ourselves wishing to “forget” inappropriate pictures and mis-addressed emails. And, as Mayer-Schönberger demonstrates, it is becoming harder and harder to “forget” these things as digital media becomes more accessible and portable and the lines of ownership blur (see the recent Facebook controversy over changes to their user agreement).

Mayer-Schönberger examines the technology that’s facilitating the end of forgetting — digitization, cheap storage and easy retrieval, global access, and increasingly powerful software — and proposes an ingeniously simple solution: expiration dates on information.


Sep 26, 17:53
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