When the Medium Is the Messenger of Tragedy

There’s no good way to find out someone you love died. My heart goes out to this mother, who learned of her son’s death via Facebook.

I heard about this story via the Digital Death forum, which acts as a kind of clearing house for the burgeoning business of online legacy. One of the group’s members alerted us to a service – alive.io – that his company, Life Ensured, created to counteract cases such as these. Basically once it thinks it’s confirmed your death (using a series of protocols you predetermine and authorize), it becomes the bearer of bad news.

I realize I haven’t done any serious blogging about the entrepreneurship around digital death, mostly because I feel like it’s being written about thoughtfully elsewhere; but also because my book is satire. And even though the subject has an absurdist angle (as does the whole enterprise of life, if you stop and think about it), I actually think these questions deserve to be taken seriously.

Still, I think a longer post on the topic of technological thanatology is in order… Stay tuned.

 

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