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Social Media Data Could Grant You Life After Death

Eternally Social 

Many people hope to leave some kind of legacy after death, but we can’t all be Rameses II or Rupert Murdoch and leave some monumental footprint on the world. As far as leaving something behind for your family though? A new tech start-up has an usual, but interesting solution. 

Eterni.me purports to use your social media data, ranging from images to status updates to anything else in order to create a ‘digital alter ego’ that can live on after you die. What this essentially means is that all you social media content is combined with AI algorithms into order to create a digital ghost of you that can interact with others in a way similar to how you did, only through a screen. 


As of December, over 25,000 people have signed up to have their social media accounts mined for data in order to create the digital shadows. This is done by user nomination, but Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and emails are the main sources. You can even include data from wearable sources like FitBit and Google Glass. Gradually, the system learns more and more about you, your interactions, relationships and interests and provided you stick with it right up to death, it uses the data to build your alter ego. 

"All that we offer is to aggregate the digital data that every one of us spreads over the internet during his or her lifetime and condense them in a digital alter ego that allows an easy way of accessing this information in a focused manner." Says creator Marius Ursache. As he sees it, the digital counterpart will "interact with and offer information and advice to your family and friends after you pass away". 

It’s a difficult idea to wrap your head around and some (or many) might find the idea of conversing with some data-based approximation of a deceased loved one more than a little bit creepy, but it certainly shows how much science fiction and science fact have started to converge. This concept is eerily similar to the recent Johnny Depp film Transcendence, for instance. 


In some cultures, memory is a form of reincarnation in and of itself, the idea being that so long as people remember you, you’re still alive in some sense or another. Eterni.me almost seems like a logical progression from that notion. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the site has already drawn attention from a number of terminally ill people wanting to know when the service will open up. “It’s difficult to reply to them,” Ursache says “because the technology may take years to build to a level that’s useable and offers real value,” 

It’s hard to estimate exactly how this scheme will turn out, being that it will be decades before any tangible results actually emerge and technology is moving so fast that it might well end up getting overtaken or just left behind, but it’s an intriguing concept and it draws into question just how much social media will be capable of once it’s been with us for even one liftetime.

Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Social Media Data Could Grant You Life After Death Reviewed by Unknown on Wednesday, February 04, 2015 Rating: 5
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