A Life Set In Stone And Shared Accordingly

The news (OK churnalistic press release reported as news) that Google has released a tool that enables users to determine what happens to their online data in the event of their death again reminds me of a titbit of news I read decades ago.

Back in the 80s I can recall reading a snippet about a service in the United States that allowed the embedding of a small TV monitor in a burial headstone that could be activated to play a piece of video that told the tombstone curious about the life of the deceased. No doubt an unwieldy and costly service back then when screens were not flat and storage media was tape or a bespoke laserdisc.

Now it strikes me that narcissism can outlive death as our digital footprints leave their indentation on the beach of online data where they are gradually eroded by the continual tidal impact on new daily information or preserved by loved ones left behind. A family legacy that can’t be hauled along to the Antiques Roadshow for valuation- “I found this in the attic but have no idea what it is”…”I believe these were called memory sticks and people once saved their private information on them”…”private information? Gosh. How quaint”.

Surely a modern equivalent to the TV-in-a-headstone would be a url or better still a QR code engraved into the headstone.

Either way our inconsequential thoughts live on long after our physical presence has withered away.


Image by Karthic R via this creative commons licence


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