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Tweet after death

March 13th, 2013 by Marc Comments

Are you unable to imagine a world without your restaurant recommendations, complaints about local establishments, and humble brags about your jog times? Have no fear because a new service called _LivesOn aims to solve that problem. After you die, the service’s algorithm will analyae your tweets and start tweeting like you so that your friends, family, and followers will forever be comforted with your unique brand of Twitter commentary.

The company only has a placeholder site up so far, but it does tell us that its “A.I.” will be able to analyae a Twitter feed and can use it to understand your “likes, tastes, [and] syntax”.

Based on that information, it will be able to, ostensibly, follow current news, events, and trends, and then tweet like you would be tweeting had you not, unfortunately, stopped living.

Before you pass on you’ll be able to test out your _LivesOn feed and judge how close the posts are to your tweets and how much you like your new, computer-generated personality. After the feed is adjusted it seems like — we’re still waiting on details — you’ll hibernate the account. Then, after you die, your executor will be able to manage your account.


The company’s site doesn’t mention this, but it seems like the Twitter handle for your posthumous account could be [YourTwitterHandle]_LivesOn, which, if true, is rather unsettling. That said, given the company’s slogan — “When your heart stops beating, you’ll keep tweeting.” — the DeadPerson’sName_LivesOn joke is right on cue.

In actuality, the whole thing seems like a joke, something formulated to upset a few columnists and possibly promote a not-very-good movie. Prank or not, the service has been getting some information-free mainstream media attention, though even they noted that _LivesOn is being built by a “London-based advertising agency.”

Assuming that _LivesOn is real and it does launch in March as the company says it will, it is hard to take seriously. First of all, it would be extremely difficult for any algorithm to replicate a person’s interests and preferences. Will it track events in real-time, weighted towards your location, while understanding your tastes in media, favorite sports teams, and the websites you are most likely to discover? It’s more likely that a simple algorithm can understand when and how frequently you tweeted and build from there. Maybe it could tweet the most popular articles from a site you liked on a given day, or retweet the most-retweeted tweet from someone who you followed, but anything past that is pushing current technology.

Of course, the question becomes, who would use a service like this appeal to? Likely only the most narcissistic of people, right? After all, if our nasty, brutish, and short lives teach us anything, it’s that we are not unique snowflakes. But if you are that self-centered, would you believe a box full of chips and cables would be able to replicate your tweets? Seems doubtful. And even then, what if your followers preferred the algorithms tweets to your own? Who could make their peace with that thought in mind? I guess we’ll see in March.

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Marc is a self-confessed nerd. Ever since seeing Star Wars for the first time around 1979 he’s been an unapologetic fan of the Wars and still believes, with Clone Wars and now Underworld, we are yet to see the best Star Wars. He’s a dad of two who now doesn’t have the time (or money) to collect the amount of toys, comics, movies and books he once did, much to the relief of his long-suffering wife. In the real world he’s a graphic designer. He started Following the Nerd because he was tired of searching a million sites every day for all the best news that he loves and decided to create one place where you can go to get the whole lot. Secretly he longs to be sitting in the cockpit of his YT-1300 Corellian Transport ship with his co-pilot Chewie, roaming the universe, waiting for his next big adventure, but feels just at home watching cartoons with his kids….