I was reading this blog post on Posthumous Hosting and it started me thinking (Yeah, I know… dangerous stuff). Once a person dies then their contribution to the online world sort of fades away unless someone picks up the banner and goes on with it. I am not talking about the comments you make on other sites, or the articles you have written, I am talking about the blog or personal website that you maintain.
For example if I die then the suramya.com domain and hosting will only continue to run till my credit card works and depending on the time of death it would stay up for a max period of 3 months after the CC’s expire or the payment is stopped. Once that happens all the data I have posted on the site will disappear. Now, my writings are probably not the world’s most interesting items for future generations but they do give a glimpse of the world I live in from my perspective.
In earlier times, people kept physical journals and even after a person died the journals stayed and they give a real glimpse of the world at that particular instant of time. In the digital world this doesn’t happen, at least not fully. The Internet Archive‘s snapshots of the web do give the future generations ability to go back and look at a site after it disappeared. But at present the snapshot is not complete and not all sites are archived. Another option would be to have a long term hosting plan for people who want to be heard even after they die.
Actually this reminds me of a book that I recently read called ‘Daemon’ by Daniel Suarez. In this book a brilliant programmer decides to create a program that activates on his death by reading the news article on a news site feed about it to slowly take over the tech world. Quite an interesting book. The main idea was that the person was effecting the real world even after he had died.
Sort of made me wonder if I could create a program to do stuff after I passed away. Not to take over the world, but to play practical jokes or just freak people out. I mean how would you feel if you got an email from a dead person congratulating you on your promotion or wishing you Happy Birthday? hmm… Maybe I should design something like it. Should be a fun thing to do. Will have to do a lot of natural language processing though. Plus have a server to run it on. Neat idea though. Don’t you think?