Due to the immense popularity of social networks and the number of hours that most people spend on these social networks, our lives are now being recorded on the Internet. The current generation is special because it has created so much data that is being archived online. The only way to store information in previous generations was through pictures, journals and personal diaries. With all of us detailing our lives on social media platforms, can we send updates even after we are long gone? Can social media be used as a platform to send everyone your last message? In this video, Adam Ostrow – Chief Strategy Officer of Mashable, talks about the information age and how people are already using various applications to leave messages to loved ones once they die.
Our digital personas can live on after we die
Although we are far from transferring our consciousness to robots and living on after our deaths, we can still be active on social media platforms from beyond the grave. As Adam points out the one thing that all social media users have in common is that they are going to die someday. He got to thinking about status updates after death after reading an update by Derek Miller – a technology journalist who died of cancer. Derek Miller asked his family members to write and publish a post for him after his death. Shortly after his death, his family dutifully posted the message online for everyone to see.
Another thing that Adam points out is that we are all creating a huge archive of information looking at the fact that 48 hours of video is being uploaded per minute on YouTube and over 200 million tweets are posted to Twitter per day.
So what does the future look like? Adam answers this question and highlights the services that are already available that can help you live on virtually. ifidie.net is a service that lets you create a message or a video that they will publish only after you die. Adam also lists another similar service called 1000 Memories, which is an online shoebox of sorts for all your photos. People can use this software to create a tribute to their loved ones after their death and share this tribute with others.
Latest technology to analyze a life’s worth of data
Adam points out that we are creating vast amounts of data on a daily basis. However, do modern machines have the capability to process all the data accumulated over a lifetime? Deb Roy – a distinguished member of the MIT faculty and head of its Cognitive Machines Group, has already created machines that can analyze about 90,000 hours of home videos. These machines can understand human language and their ability to process vast amounts of data is improving daily. Adam suggests that with these machines we can analyze a life’s worth of tweets, Facebook posts, videos, blog posts, images, etc. and this could help our digital personas interact online after we die.
There are already similar services in existence. My Next Tweet is a service that analyzes a person’s entire Twitter stream to predict what the person’s future tweets could be. So in theory, this service could tweet for you when you are no longer there. The results may be comical now, but Adam thinks that in 20 or 30 years, such services could be very accurate.
What if we can use robots to act and behave like us and to replace us after we are gone? Similarly, is it possible to use holograms of ourselves to reach out to loved ones from beyond the grave? Watch this video to know the answers from Adam himself.