Technology often comes in the form of weapons. The great Archive represents the culmination of information across France. What is it a weapon against? By storing everything, independent of value, medium or age, the grand machine seeks to undo change itself. The narrator acknowledges that much in the archive be accessed only once, if at all. But the collected knowledge also serves as a symbol of modernity and the undoing of human fallibility in the post-WWII era. More information may not be always better, but it cannot be worse.

I see my friends and coworkers espouse similar attitudes again, especially around the phrase Big Data. Now that processing power and digital storage grow toward infinity companies believe they can eke greater returns and better experiences by examining every facet of their interaction with the customer. This new Memory of the World sits distributed on its own micro-encoded storage in server farms. Every click, every action and every bit is held and accounted for. Facebook uses it to determine that changing its color of blue leads to better user interaction. But I am worried of the consequences from having my whole life’s foibles accessible electronically. Humanity is already bad at forgiving. What happens when we learn how not to forget?


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