The Art of Losing
Why forgetting everything that ever appeared on the Web wouldn't be a disaster.
"I think that we will learn ways to forget information, even if it's in digitally accessible form," says Kahle, reassuringly. "When we went from an oral culture to writing, people complained that people wouldn't remember as well and wouldn't speak as well, because they'd have writing as a crutch. And then when printing superseded writing, people worried about being inundated with trash. We're in the middle of one of these transitions.''
Sensible enough. And in that coming debate, I know where I stand: In the party of forgetfulness. I don't want to live in a museum. As we're encouraged to exult over the vast new volumes of information that are becoming easier and easier to capture, remember that the art of losing is also important to master.
David Berreby, author of Us and Them: The Science of Identity, has been a Slate contributor since 1996.