Why AI must learn to forget

Machines with perfect memory would be dangerous

We think of our tendency to forget as a cognitive defect. When it comes to Artificial Intelligence, we could eradicate this human limitation by creating machines with infallible memories. But forgetting is in fact crucial both for smoothing out social interactions, and for the proper functioning of our memories. The same would be true of AI. Machine intelligence that never forgot would be both socially dangerous and cognitively inefficient, argues Ali Boyle.


A few months ago, I introduced myself to another philosopher only to discover that I’d met them before. We’d met at a conference, as it turned out, and had quite a long conversation over dinner. Even on being told this, I struggled to summon up the memory of our previous encounter. I remember being absolutely mortified. To make matters worse, I’ve already forgotten who this person was, so the mortification seems bound to be repeated.

All in all, I’d prefer it if I’d not forgotten and been

Continue reading

Enjoy unlimited access to the world's leading thinkers.

Start by exploring our subscription options or joining our mailing list today.

Start Free Trial

Already a subscriber? Log in

Join the conversation