Life Vol.2, No.4 – Adam Ostrow: After your final status update

What happens to our digital persona after we die? When my friend Max passed away, his hotmail account remained active for some time. I sent messages to that address and liked to think of these thoughts disappearing into tiny particles, bits and bytes if you will. I was totally aware that Max would not read the messages, that at best a relative might know his password.

Collectively we generate more public information today than all the information produced by human beings throughout history.  Cisco says that by 2016 or ’17 total global annual IP traffic will cross the zettabyte threshold, and that’s only a portion of all the data that is created. CenturyLink projects that 1.8 zettabytes of data will be created this year alone. By 2015 the projection is 7.9 zettabytes per year. That’s the equivalent of 18 million times the digital assets stored by the Library of Congress today.

Big data initiatives are looking at a point in the near future where they can pluck, from all those bits and bytes, every piece of information associated with any one person.

So what does that mean in context of our final digital update? Adam Ostrow points to a future where our life’s digital footprint might be captured and reinterpreted into a kind of afterlife presence, an avatar if you will, that has the potential to live on nearly forever. Is this where we want to go as a society? Some might feel reassured to think so. Watch the video and decide for yourself.

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