Friday, December 31, 2010

Life after death

Life after death.  Not a delusion.  Not a narrative fallacy.  One can really exist after death.  One's whole life can live on forever as memory in someone else's mind.  Now one's whole life can live on physically everywhere with a presence to everyone.  BBC carried an article in December on this subject.  If you want to know the secret.  Try read this link.

It started with a box of photographs.  The author received it as a legacy from a dead member of the family.  By going through the photographs, the whole life of the dead came alive in vivid memory.   In the last ten years, photographs have completely gone digital.  Now, instead of photo albums, we have a collection of digital images.  Many advanced devices have emerged in the market for the entire collection of images of the life of a person to be archived and displayed in various ways.

We used to think of digital archives as something physical being stored in CD, DVD and harddisk.  Such physical limitation is fading away as people are more reliant on the cloud to store information.  The pace of the advance of such technology may be faster than you know.  Take Facebook for example.  Many people are uploading their daily activities with images and comments.  You may not be aware that such data will remain in the cloud forever.  In a few decades, when the present Facebook crowd die, their life will remain there for their friends to click on.

Many people are now gathering their life information digitally.  Besides all the email your wrote, messages answered, comments made on anything, like clicked on everything, people are collecting what they hear by recording everything and what see by video imaging everything.  All these actual construct of life are preserved in the cloud, backed up and duplicated many times over.  With intelligent software, a personal profile from any angle can be constructed through data mining.

With such immortal life, there comes an issue of personal data privacy.  Personal data privacy legislation at present does not cover dead persons.  Even national secrets are open to the public after several decades of cooling period.  So we can expect our life after death could be more transparent than our life while alive.  Just imagine your surviving family members inherited your entire life together with all the secrets you kept from them.  There are now talks on how to safeguard your data after death, which is an arrangement equally important to a will.  Instead of the distribution of estate, digital information may be shared by everyone.  So, if one wants to maintain a decent life after death, it may be necessary to start early and clean up your life record in the cloud.  It will not be a easy task, because in IT term, deleting just means hiding temporarily.

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