Digital Hyperthymesia
Tanne van Bree

Through the digitization of the externalization of human memory and a shift in cultural perspectives, a non-forgetting artificial memory evolves. In this presentation I use a metaphor for this recently emerged phenomenon: I state that we’re living with Digital Hyperthymesia. This is derived from the memory condition ‘hyperthymesia’ which gives a person a superior autobiographical memory, meaning that the person can recall, without conscious effort, nearly every day of their life with great detail. The emergence of Digital Hyperthymesia is researched from a technological and cultural perspective, and possible consequences in the context of human memory are formulated. Human memory is a duality of remembering and forgetting. This inspired Artificial Ignorance – a computer application that offers a digital equivalent of ‘forgetting’. Instead of displaying your digital photographs, AI collects visually similar images from the internet. These new images serve as ‘memory cues’ to stimulate active remembering.

Tanne van Bree is a digital designer at Studio Edhv, with a bachelor in Communication and Multimedia Design and a master in Information Design. She graduated Cum Laude from Design Academy Eindhoven with her graduation project, ‘Digital Hyperthymesia’. By designing ‘digital forgetting’ she speculates the different ways of dealing with the abundance of digital information available nowadays.