The debate on the right to be forgotten on Google involves the relationship between human information processing and digital processing by algorithms. The specificity of digital memory is not so much its often discussed inability to forget. What distinguishes digital memory is, instead, its ability to process information without understanding. Algorithms only work with data (i.e. with differences) without remembering or forgetting. Merely calculating, algorithms manage to produce significant results not because they operate in an intelligent way, but because they ‘‘parasitically’’ exploit the intelligence, the memory, and the attribution of meaning by human actors. The specificity of algorithmic processing makes it possible to bypass the paradox of remembering to forget, which up to now blocked any human-based forgetting technique. If you decide to forget some memory, the most immediate effect is drawing attention to it, thereby activating remembering. Working differently from human intelligence, however, algorithms can implement, for the first time, the classical insight that it might be possible to reinforce forgetting not by erasing memories but by multiplying them. After discussing several projects on the web which implicitly adopt this approach, the article concludes by raising some deeper problems posed when algorithms use data and metadata to produce information that cannot be attributed to any human being.

Algorithmic memory and the right to be forgotten on the web / Esposito, Elena. - In: BIG DATA & SOCIETY. - ISSN 2053-9517. - 4:1(2017), pp. 1-11. [10.1177/2053951717703996]

Algorithmic memory and the right to be forgotten on the web

ESPOSITO, Elena
2017

Abstract

The debate on the right to be forgotten on Google involves the relationship between human information processing and digital processing by algorithms. The specificity of digital memory is not so much its often discussed inability to forget. What distinguishes digital memory is, instead, its ability to process information without understanding. Algorithms only work with data (i.e. with differences) without remembering or forgetting. Merely calculating, algorithms manage to produce significant results not because they operate in an intelligent way, but because they ‘‘parasitically’’ exploit the intelligence, the memory, and the attribution of meaning by human actors. The specificity of algorithmic processing makes it possible to bypass the paradox of remembering to forget, which up to now blocked any human-based forgetting technique. If you decide to forget some memory, the most immediate effect is drawing attention to it, thereby activating remembering. Working differently from human intelligence, however, algorithms can implement, for the first time, the classical insight that it might be possible to reinforce forgetting not by erasing memories but by multiplying them. After discussing several projects on the web which implicitly adopt this approach, the article concludes by raising some deeper problems posed when algorithms use data and metadata to produce information that cannot be attributed to any human being.
2017
4
1
1
11
Algorithmic memory and the right to be forgotten on the web / Esposito, Elena. - In: BIG DATA & SOCIETY. - ISSN 2053-9517. - 4:1(2017), pp. 1-11. [10.1177/2053951717703996]
Esposito, Elena
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11380/1132954
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