New book “Delete” published

Top academic publishing house Princeton University Press has just released “Delete – The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age“, Professor Mayer-Schönberger’s brand new book on the importance of human forgetting, the shift due to digital tools towards comprehensive remembering, and the dire consequences this shift may entail for everyone of us, and for society at large. Going far beyond conventional privacy and data protection arguments, “Delete” argues that undoing forgetting may limit our ability to forgive each other and ourselves, and to constrain our ability to act and decide in the present as we remain tethered to an ever more detailed remembered past.

Not content with just sketching out the challenge ahead of us, in this book Professor Mayer-Schönberger evaluates various options to confront the challenge, and – concluding that no silver bullet exists – also suggests a creative solution: building the ability to forget into the digital tools we use. Labeled “expiration dates” for personal information, this approach is not a technical fix to the ills of comprehensive remembering, but is rather intended to remind us humans time and again that most information is linked to a particular temporal context and thus loses its relevance over time.

Chapter one is free to download.