Death is always strange, but modern technology has a way of making it stranger still. My father died last month and, as I relate in this podcast, one of the first things I did after I heard the news was to call his cell phone. I'm not entirely sure why. But call I did, and I interacted with the digital remnants of the man that was. In the weeks that have followed, I've e-mailed his account a couple of times as well, an act that feels equal parts weird and therapeutic. What does it all mean?
Our online selves live on after our deaths. What are we as humans to make of that? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and I discuss how something as mundane as a dead man's blog is a precursor to digital immortality. How will advancing neuroscience and AI technology enable us to recreate the deceased or create life after death? And will this be a comfort or just troublesome and weird?
Just how much ethical grey area emerges when we contemplate a future of digital immortal copies of ourselves? Who owns them? Who has the right to copy them? Can we edit an ideal version of who we are to live on after the flesh dies?
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