One of the standout presentations at last week's Defrag Conference was Jonathan Yarmis's Data, Data Everywhere.
Yarmis's presentation offered some truly astonishing statistics about the sheer volume and explosive growth of data in an increasingly connected world. His talk also touched on the impossibly challenging task of panning for gold in the rushing whitewater of the datastream.
Fortunately, Yarmis's presentation is available on SlideShare, so you can see for yourself, without relying on my memory.
With Yarmis's presentation still on my mind, it was serendipitous that this morning's Wall Street Journal includes You Must Remember This: Forgetting Has Its Benefits. The column, by Melinda Beck, describes the process by which the human brain manages the enormous amount of data it must process. The article quotes neuro-physicist and memory expert Gayatri Devi, who explains the importance of forgetting:
"If you didn't forget, you'd recall all kinds of extraneous information from your life that would drown you in a sea of inefficiency."
The column made me feel a little bit better about all the stuff I can't remember. But it also made me laugh just a little at the implications for the solutions to the problems Jonathan Yarmis described in his presentation.
The human brain is the most sophisticated of computers, the model for where IT is headed. So as the amount of data computers must deal with increases, will we, at some point in the not-so-distant future, have to teach our computers to forget?
I have some expertise in that field. Maybe I can get some kind of consulting gig...