Monday, February 1, 2010

Digital Life After Death

SFGate.com has an interesting report about what happens to our online identities when we die. The main focus is the difficulties bereaved relatives have when trying to obtain access to their deceased loved ones' password-protected email accounts, social networking profiles, and so on. Apparently there are companies now selling solutions to this problem, basically offering to set your online status to "dead" after you check out.

This article, and another in last week's New Yorker about cryonics, got me thinking: why not aim for online immortality instead? It would be simple enough to write an application that would offer digital life after death. After signing up with the service, it could analyze your status updates, likes and dislikes, favorite links, etc. for as long as you remained connected to the land of the living. Then, after you logged off for the final time, the program would continue posting similar items -- "ooh, isn't the weather cold," "loving my new iPad 5," "still breathing," and so on -- creating an online presence that would never expire. It could even copy your face and paste it onto new photos posted by your living friends, to make it look as if you're still having a fine old time with them all.

If the idea took off, soon there would be a thriving online community of the undead, filling out Facebook quizzes about the afterlife, retweeting one another's posthumous musings, and making amusing mashups of Adolf Hitler in Downfall. Hrm, perhaps there's money to be made from offering this service to the living too.

1 comment:

Wendy said...

Deadbook...

Ettinger has already frozen his mother and his two wives...hmmm..fishy...
can you write a post for BAB connecting all this in to frozen food somehow?