Welcome to digital death

‘Since it’s creation in the late 1960s, the internet, has been a wealth of easily accessible information on any topic, a useful tool. However in recent years, it’s status as a ‘tool’ for knowledge extraction has been far surpassed. The internet has become an engaging space where people choose to spend time; socializing, buying, selling and living. The movement of the internet from informational navigation tool to a community marks a new form of social phenomenon.’


Although describing the internet as a ‘community’ is certainly not groundbreaking, this word, this ‘community,’ was my spark and continues to be central to my research into virtuality. I observe, firstly my own immersion in the digital world, with the hope of extrapolating some of 'the complex interrelations between a person's personal computer and their digital self.’


This blog will hopefully give you an insight into my head and how I have become fascinated by the socio-virtual space, divulging into areas of the digital world, I have termed:


Digital Death, Digital Afterlife and Digital Heritage.

Monday, 23 November 2009

MyLifeBits meets Harry Potter - Our digital memories will remain forever!

Recently I have been looking at the multitude of implications when storing ones memory in a digital format. I have chosen to include the image of Dumbledore storing his own memories in an external pool (pensive) because I think there is an interesting parallel to be made. It always amazes me how something like the idea of a pensive, so grounded in fiction and magic can now, not only be a possibility but a reality! One can now store their memories in an external pool (computer) and even invite other people to share in some of their experiences. These 'bits' of memories, stored in their 'pools,' are shielded from the danger of natural decay in the physical world (and the human condition of forgetting.)



Microsoft's 'MyLifeBits' is probably the most complete example of a life recorded online.

" Gordon Bell has captured a lifetime's worth of articles, books, cards, CDs, letters, memos, papers, photos, pictures, presentations, home movies, videotaped lectures, and voice recordings... [in his digital pool]. He is now paperless, and is beginning to capture phone calls, IM transcripts, television, and radio. "

(http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/mylifebits/)

However my question, as always, is what is to be done with all this information once we have spent our lives accumulating it. How do we begin to edit down a lifetime's worth of information, making it relevant to both our loved ones and society? I begin to question, is this frantic gathering and saving of information a reflection on our culture's in-ability to deal with loss and mortality? Is 'digital memory,' simply a modern search for the fabled philosopher's stone (immortality) and if our information does get passed down as 'digital remains' then have we in some way achieved this goal? Nowadays we tend to keep information simply for the sake of keeping it (because we can) or because we are afraid of losing something we might need? I question whether this really is a good enough reason for it's existence?

2 comments:

  1. We too have been pondering the afterlife of our digital communication. Please see this recent post:
    http://afterthoughtsblog.com/2011/07/15/death/

    Would love to know your thoughts.
    Best,
    Susan Fried Perl

    ReplyDelete
  2. thanks for the share.. black Doors from the dark inside

    ReplyDelete