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What happens to your online data when you die?

What happens to your online data when you die?

Do you have plans for what happens to all your online data when you die? Well, if you haven’t, about 90 per cent of netzines are also like that, according to research by GoodTrust.

In a video created by WIRED, Futurist Sinead Bovell discusses ways our online data can still be used after we die with Rikard Steiber, who founded GoodTrust. She also sits down with grief counselor Dr. Liz Tolliver, neuroscientist Dr. Josh Sariñana, and neuroscientist Dr. Michael Graziano to ask the question: should we be doing this?

Steiber revealed that they found more than 30 million dead people on Facebook. While this may be shocking at first, it is believable because of the number of people who pass on every minute of every day, leaving their Facebook accounts active.

While there is worry about hackers and scammers stealing your identity when you are late, there is also the ray of hope that loved ones will still have something to remember you by.

Steiber’s company claims to be able to provide the following for you:

  • Protect your family and legacy with attorney crafted Will & Directives
  • Unlimited Estate Plan document updates and personal consultation
  • Organize your digital life with a Password Manager & Digital Vault
  • $1 million identity theft coverage with Cyber Insurance.

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This emerging industry has the tag’ Death Tech’ as it is basically concerned with the digital afterlife of your online data. Imagine your loved ones losing all those wonderful memories you have preserved in your iCloud or a Bitcoin wealth that you stashed away.

“We want to make sure that long after you are gone, you will have a representation where people can see you, remember you and potentially also interact with you in a way that you would think be good for who you are,” Rikard Steiber said.

However, while you are still alive, GoodTrust can offer security to protect your digital footprint from being exploited.

Sinead Bovell mentioned the case of Joshua Barbeau, a freelance writer from Canada who successfully resurrected an AI version of his ex-fiancee by training a Chatbot using her old texts and Facebook messages.

Armed with this advanced tech, a version of us can still be around to converse with the people we leave behind.

Of course, there could be repercussions for this tech, as with all advancements, there will be side effects. Grief counselor Dr. Liz Tolliver says that it could become easy to become attached to an AI version of a loved one and, instead of grieving, we get stuck and addicted to it.

Meanwhile, neuroscientists Dr. Josh Sariñana and Dr. Michael Graziano both agree that with memory upload possible, we can have two versions of ourselves, which is quite creepy because although memories practically shape us, a digital version of us becomes different from the moment it is created.

Our online data could do more than just store what we have been doing online. It could build a digital version of us and even open the doors to uploading our consciousness.

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Onwuasoanya Obinna

A reader of books and stringer of words. Passionate about Science and Tech. When not writing or reading he is surfing the web and Tweeting.