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Carina Chocano

  • 'Data' has become the default word used to describe the constantly generated, centrally stored evidence of our existence. I wasn't surprised to learn that the word 'data' comes from the Latin for 'to give,' and refers to something that is given or relinquished. It also feels significant that data rests at the very bottom of the so-called knowledge hierarchy — below information, knowledge and wisdom.

    • Carina Chocano,
    • "The Essence of Being Human Is Not Remembering but Forgetting," The New York Times Magazine ()
  • Losing data is not the same as forgetting. It happens all at once, not gradually or imperceptibly, so it feels less like an unburdening than like a mugging. Similarly, accumulating data does not feel the same as gaining knowledge, experience or understanding.

    • Carina Chocano,
    • "The Essence of Being Human Is Not Remembering but Forgetting," The New York Times Magazine ()
  • The ability to store our data externally helps us imagine that our time is limitless, our space infinite. It frees us in, theory at least, from the defining constraints of being human, and sometimes that freaks us out.

    • Carina Chocano,
    • "The Essence of Being Human Is Not Remembering but Forgetting," The New York Times Magazine ()
  • So now we're all these paleontologists that are digging for things that we've lost on our external brains that we're carrying around in our pockets.

    • Carina Chocano,
    • "The Essence of Being Human Is Not Remembering but Forgetting," The New York Times Magazine ()
  • This is the dilemma of being a cyborg: It's not just that everything we once committed to memory we now store externally on devices that crash or become obsolete or are rendered temporarily inaccessible due to lack of coverage. And it's not that we spend a lot of time storing, organizing, pruning and maintaining our access to it all. It's that we're collectively engaged in a mass conversion of what we used to call, variously, records, accounts, entries, archives, registers, collections, keepsakes, catalogs, testimonies and memories into, simply, data.

    • Carina Chocano,
    • "The Essence of Being Human Is Not Remembering but Forgetting," The New York Times Magazine ()

Carina Chocano, U.S. writer, essayist

(1968)

Full name: Carina Milagros Chocano