DeadSocial, DeadBook, DeadSpace, LivesOn….. The Morbid World of Death Social Sites

In class we talked frequently about our social media accounts after we died. We were interested in knowing whether the black mirror episode could become true in our lifetime. Later in the class, we created morbid social media services that would cater to different aspects of our life after we die. Although we all laughed awkwardly talking about these social media projects- come on, “DeadBook” or a tree-planting service for our bodies, really?- Dr. Sample suggested that many of these sites probably already existed.

I was interested in seeing whether these applications and websites did actually exist so I looked into it. The first one I found, called “LivesOn” was first created to tweet for you when you were busy doing other things. But then the marketers realized they could make more money and buzz if they advertised it for the dead. Their tagline was “When your heart stops beating, you’ll keep tweeting.” Unfortunately, it seems like the app only spliced together your old tweets to provide an unintelligible string of something that sounds like you. I believe it failed after people realized the tweets were unintelligible, but this service mirrors almost exactly what one group brainstormed in class.

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I actually found many different sites that promised to tweet after you died, or upload a video to Facebook if you died, and things similar to that- but many of them had failed and their websites led nowhere. (One was even called “DeadSocial“, so we were close with DeadBook or DeadSpace!)

It made me wonder why people were either against this idea, or why these projects kept failing. Let’s preface this by saying I have no idea, but I think it’s likely because of two reasons. Either the technology is so far off from the infamous black mirror episode that it is impossible to “recreate” you without reliable Artificial Intelligence. Or second, that people are against the idea of reading/interacting with people like that after they died. That there is something disingenuous and fake about interacting with a robot pretending to be a human rather than having their own self-created personality. It would get really boring interacting with a personality or avatar that you know someone else created, right? We’ve always thought of technology as a force that makes our lives easier or more manageable, but never thought of it as its own being. So if we create artificial personalities, it just seems that we would never really get over that unless the personalities create themselves.

One Reply to “DeadSocial, DeadBook, DeadSpace, LivesOn….. The Morbid World of Death Social Sites”

  1. Disclaimer: This is a post with what went through my mind thinking about these social mediums, and it’s not directed at all at the poster, but the people who make these apps and websites. I figured since in your post you said: “It made me wonder why people were either against this idea, or why these projects kept failing.”. So I thought a personal perspective would be interesting. 

    Reading this post I kept thinking how much I’d absolutely hate someone close to me using an app like this in the worst case scenario that they died. I just find the idea so repulsive and I’m honestly glad none of these websites and apps succeed at all. It just seems so insulting, that someone would create a simple algorithm to splice text and post in someone’s stead, for what reason exactly? So it seems like they’re alive and well? I’m just so dumbfounded by people who actually try and make these social mediums and think it’s a great idea.

    Expanding on that even more, I just find it ridiculous that if someone died, their profile would then clutter with random remixed things that they would say periodically, to mimic the behavior of the person that died. Again, my question remains, for what reason? To make it harder for people to get over the death’s of their loved ones?

    We are so far from any real artificial intelligence (there’s actually the very strong argument that we’re never going to recreate consciousness), and so far from storing our complete memories into a digital server to live on forever that it just baffles me that some app developer thought this was remotely a good idea. These tweets and comments that would be produced postmortem would simply be a mockery of whoever the real person was that died. I imagine a parallel would be if we took the works of a famous author, and then remixed the chapters, paragraphs, and sentences of their books so that the author could publish “books” even after death. It just seems so ridiculous and useless to me.

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