Should Information Have an Expiration Date?
With so much information being stored in Web databases around the world, data now created will potentially stay recorded in the memory cloud forever. That's why Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Director of the Information Innovation Policy
Research Center at the National University of Singapore says he wants to "revive the art of forgetting"
by putting expiration dates on Web data.
"The importance is that by
entering or having to enter an expiration whenever we store something,
we are reminded ... of the importance that information is
not timeless, but it is connected to a particular context in time and
loses it’s value over time," says Mayer-Schönberger. "Most information does and so by setting
expiration date, we really link time with information, something that
biologically we cannot do."
In his Big Think interview
, Mayer-Schönberger spoke at length about how the concept of "perfect digital memory" is changing the way we behave
. "We have to face the fact that what we say and do online today will not
only be viewed by the hundreds of millions of people that are online
today, but might be viewed and interpreted differently by people and
institutions 10 years, 20 years, 30 years down the road when we are no
longer young and we might not be as engaged in public discourse and
protests any more, but we might want to apply for a well-paid investment
He also talked about an "eGovernment revolution"
, saying we currently don't have enough access to the processes of and information government, "We as a society have a right to know better what the government is
doing, to engage with the government and to have a government in place
that is willing and able to use the technological tools available to
engage us citizens." He says that this is currently not happening—or not happening at a
sufficiently high level—leaving us "in this old-fashioned mode of
thinking about transaction efficiency and user-friendliness."