Monday, September 24, 2007

tertiary education: advantages of amnesia??

... Google's enormous reserves of user information, stored in dozens of secretive data centers across the world, and the literally photographic memory of the Internet Archive, which preserves billions of defunct Web pages for posterity, are enough to leave anyone rattled. New forms of memory are permanent and accessible from anywhere. As their reach grows, scholars are asking if now - perhaps for the first time in human history - we need to find ways to forget.

"We used to have a system in which we forgot things easily and had to invest energy in remembering," says Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, an associate professor of public policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. "Now we're switching to a system in which we remember everything and have to invest energy in order to forget. That's an enormous transformation."

and this:

The personal costs of this reality are clear, but there may be broader social costs as well. "What a lot of people forget - no pun intended - is that forgetting is hard-wired," says Mayer-Schönberger. "Cognitively and sociologically, we've never had to develop the capacity to forget or to put things in temporal perspective, because forgetting was built in biologically."

So trying to memorize the times table is a waste of time?

Are we going to need to spend some time in school and do homework to practice forgetting?

Read the full article in the Boston Globe and decide for yourself.

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