“The Blinking Eye”

Responding to a call from renowned architect and MIT professor Carlo Ratti from the Biennale in Shenzhen, Professor Mayer-Schönberger teamed up with Heinz Machat to write a paper on deliberate digital emptiness in urban areas. The paper was selected for the Biennale. It never made it, however, because the Chinese authorities decided to censor some of the selected papers and in response the Biennale organizers decided to withdraw all papers from the Biennale. Instead they got published online on Archdaily here.

An “intellectual godfather of the right to be forgotten”?

200px-Original_New_Yorker_coverIn a comprehensive, detailed and balanced article (“The Solace of Oblivion“, September 29, 2014 Issue) in the NEW YORKER on the right to be forgotten, how it came about, what it entails and what it might mean, Jeffrey Tobin extensively quotes Professor Mayer-Schönberger, after calling him “one the intellectual godfathers of the right to be forgotten”. Well worth a read.

“Delete” in paperback published, with new chapter

Princeton University Press has just published the paperback edition of Professor Mayer-Schönberger’s awards-winning book “Delete – The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age.” The paperback version is not only more affordable, but also sports a newly added chapter, in which Professor Mayer-Schönberger offers updates on his argument, as well as some personal insights into his own journey of thinking about and dealing with the challenges posed by comprehensive digital memory. The book is available at Amazon and many other book sellers around the world.

“Delete” reviewed in NATURE

natureStanford professor Fred Turner reviewed Professor Mayer-Schönberger’s recent book “Delete” in NATURE, and liked it. He concludes by saying “If Mayer-Schönberger is right – and I’m convinced he is – then the old Kris Kristofferson song might be true after all: in the future, freedom could be just another word for nothing left to lose.” The full review is here.

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.