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Newark Star-LedgerA lively, accessible argument . . . that all that stored and shared data is a serious threat to life as we know it.
— Jim Willse
Delete looks at the surprising phenomenon of perfect remembering in the digital age, and reveals why we must reintroduce our capacity to forget. Digital technology empowers us as never before, yet it has unforeseen consequences as well. Potentially humiliating content on Facebook is enshrined in cyberspace for future employers to see. Google remembers everything we've searched for and when. The digital realm remembers what is sometimes better forgotten, and this has profound implications for us all.
In Delete, Viktor Mayer-Schönberger traces the important role that forgetting has played throughout human history, from the ability to make sound decisions unencumbered by the past to the possibility of second chances. The written word made it possible for humans to remember across generations and time, yet now digital technology and global networks are overriding our natural ability to forget—the past is ever present, ready to be called up at the click of a mouse. 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global access, and increasingly powerful software—and describes the dangers of everlasting digital memory, whether it's outdated information taken out of context or compromising photos the Web won't let us forget. He explains why information privacy rights and other fixes can't help us, and proposes an ingeniously simple solution—expiration dates on information—that may.
Delete is an eye-opening book that will help us remember how to forget in the digital age.
Delete offers many scary examples of how the control of personal information stored in e-memory can fall into the wrong hands. . . . Lucid, eminently readable.
— Winifred Gallagher
"A fascinating work of social and technological criticism. . . . The book explores the ways various technologies has altered the human relationship with memory, shifting us from a society where the default was to forget (and consequently forgive) to one where it is impossible to avoid the ramifications of a permanent record."—Philip Martin, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
"Mayer-Schönberger convincingly claims that our new status quo, the impossibility of forgetting, is severely misaligned to how the human brain works, and to how individuals and societies function. . . . Can anything be done? Delete is an accessible, thoughtful and alarming attempt to start debate."—Karlin Lillington, Irish Times
"To argue for more forgetting is counter-intuitive to those who value information, history and transparency, but the writer pursues it systematically and thoroughly."—Richard Thwaites, Canberra Times
"Surprising and fascinating. . . . Delete opens a highly useful debate."—Robert Fulford, National Post
"Delete offers many scary examples of how the control of personal information stored in e-memory can fall into the wrong hands. . . . Lucid, eminently readable."—Winifred Gallagher, Globe and Mail
"Delete is one of a number of smart recent books that gently and eruditely warn us of the rising costs and risks of mindlessly diving into new digital environments—without, however, raising apocalyptic fears of the entire project. . . . [Mayer-Schonberger] is a digital enthusiast with a realistic sense of how we might go very wrong by embracing powerful tools before we understand them."—Siva Vaidhyanathan, Chronicle of Higher Education
"In this brief book, Mayer-Schönberger focuses on a unique feature of the digital age: contemporaries have lost the capacity to forget. Many books on privacy frequently mention, but never address in detail, the implications of an almost perfect memory system that digital technology and global networks have brought about. . . . An interesting book, well within the reach of the intelligent reader."—Choice
CHAPTER I: Failing to Forget the "Drunken Pirate" 1
CHAPTER II: The Role of Remembering and the Importance of Forgetting 16
CHAPTER III: The Demise of Forgetting—and Its Drivers 50
CHAPTER IV: Of Power and Time—Consequences of the Demise of Forgetting 92
CHAPTER V: Potential Responses 128
CHAPTER VI: Reintroducing Forgetting 169
CHAPTER VII: Conclusions 196
Posted June 2, 2010
I really want to read this book and since I bought a nook in part to reduce the ridiculous amount of printed books I own, I started looking for the eBook version of this title. I know the Kindle version is about 15$. Well I was quite surprised that the BN eBook version is 20 dollars and change and is in fact PRICED (very slightly) HIGHER THEN THE PRINTED BOOK. Wow, Barnes and Noble. Its bad enough that your eBooks are priced noticeably higher then Kindle books (in some cases, insanely higher), but to price any digital book higher then a printed book is ridiculous.
BN, I expected better from you.
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Posted December 2, 2011
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