Evgeny Morozov on External Memory

For him, the problem of digital forgetting transcends the purely transactional concerns over who has access to what data; even if access to private information is uncompromised, our mental balance could still collapse under the burden of too much data.

Today's read was written more than four years ago. It's still remarkably relevant, however. I was reminded of it when I read about Rebecca Woolf on NPR, a Los Angeles blogger worried about the effects of our photo-happy society:

"Then they've got a thousand photos, and then they just dump the photos somewhere and don't really look at them very much, 'cause it's too difficult to tag them and organize them," she says. "That seems to me to be a kind of loss."

It's a problem most of us can identify with. I vaguely recalled reading something similar ages ago, and after some digging through old Instapaper articles, I found Morozov's piece.

I said the piece is still relevant. In fact, it's probably more relevant now, simply because of the rise of life-logging. We take so many pictures, document so many experiences- but what do we do with them later?

Not much. It's a lot of work to remember those past experiences.

So what effect does all that cataloguing have on our memory? And what must technology do to make life-logging truly valuable? Morozov offers his wonderfully enlightening take.

Read Speak, Memory now or save it for later.