So you’re dead, now what? Well, by signing up with LivesOn, an app developed as a new artificial intelligence undertaking, your tweets will not only be immortalized, but will actively continue from beyond the grave. LivesOn advertises itself as “your social afterlife,” and they strive to be just that. With just a few simple steps, you can sign yourself over to the world wide web for all eternity, or, at least until Twitter is replaced by the next advancement in social technology.
At its core, LivesOn is an intriguing idea; it’s something that has crossed the minds of many, “what happens to my social networks when I die?” Well, by creating a new algorithm, LivesOn has provided an answer. While still in this plane of existence, members sign up for a new Twitter provided by LivesOn. After the account is created, users then periodically will update their likes, dislikes, favorite celebrities and other information relevant to the post-mortem tweets. Users can even preview the service and see examples of what their future account will say, and are able to edit accordingly. The service, which has been developed by Dave Bedwood, in conjunction with the Queen Mary University in London, then uses an algorithm, one that is still shrouded in mystery, to continue the social networking following death. The algorithm in question will then, and it is still unclear how this happens, continues updating from your profile in occurrence with your pre-chosen likes and dislikes. None of this happens however, until your LivesOn executor, who you choose, gives his or her approval for the service to begin.
However, as impressive as this sounds, one has to wonder how much of this is actually possible. Will the account actually be able to successfully replicate a human being? Or will, in a more likely scenario, the account just occasionally retweet a favorited celebrity or celebrated television show or movie? Of course, this is problematic in itself, do people still want to be seeing a deceased loved one continue to fawn over their celebrity of choice, likely long after the celebrities fame has passed? Also, while to some, the idea of continuing tweeting following death may be fascinating, others find it less than appealing. In reality, how easy could it be to grieve if you’re still seeing the individual in question on your newsfeed every day still complaining about their lives as if they were still living them? And this begs another question, what happens to your account after twitter has long-been forgotten? Do you just continue tweeting about Justin Bieber to an empty newsfeed for all of eternity?
While the creator himself has said that the intended audience will probably be a niche market, the bandwagon has already begun for LivesOn. It seems that only time will tell as to exactly how well this will work out in the future, but unfortunately, it will require a few members of the living to depart before we’ll ever be able to tell.
- Jay Reilly