Digitally Disposable and Permanent

by | Nov 10, 2021 | ICT4D


So much of our lives are influenced by the consumption and throw away culture. Fast fashion, fast food, fast furniture and so on have exponentially grown the single-use plastic consumption. If we don’t like something, we are encourage not to worry, just order a different one. If it breaks, buy a new one. And the rubbish we create is not our problem as it is taken away weekly to be someone else’s problem.

So much of our lives seem disposable and this is encouraged. And yet, we are fascinated with living forever, leaving ‘our mark on the world’, and so on.

This tension between everything being disposable and wanting to live forever (permanence) plays out all around us.

In the digital world we want everything instantaneously and we give away our data easily. And yet we forget that while digital enables the ability to ‘forget’ (delete), this rarely happens. Data, once digitalised, has a habit of sticking around. It has a permanence to it, which we have a hard time believing because we tend to associate digital with speed and the disposable.

Perhaps this notion of disposableness (is that a word?) contributes to the difficulty of discussing the need to delete people’s data in humanitarian agencies?

Photo by Artem Labunsky


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