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Digital Immortality

By Taylor Marvin

Scott Adams has a fascinating post about the possibility that an algorithm familiar with your preferences could continue your online behavior after you die:

“When your mortal body ends, you will have stored all the data you need to create your permanent digital ghost. As the technology in the cloud improves, so too does your ghost, learning to move more naturally, perhaps learning from videos it has of you, or even based on some type of profiling based on clues such as your level of testosterone (from face shape), and the types of sports you did in life. In a hundred years your digital ghost would be indistinguishable from a living human appearing on video or in a holographic projection.”

As Adams points out, the technology to do this is here now, and this type of program wouldn’t be too difficult to set up. What’s interesting about this idea is that it represents a sea change in the human experience that hasn’t come about only because no one’s taken the time to do it. The idea of this kind of false communication with the dead is so alien it’s off putting- I have trouble imagining that there are many people who would actually be interested in doing this. But cultural preferences can change quickly, and a big part of me thinks that this chimerical immortality is closer than we’d like to believe.

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