Do you believe in the afterlife? How about the social afterlife? One operation has developed a service that will help you “keep tweeting even after you’ve passed away.”
It’s called LivesOn and it works by analyzing your current tweets. The service learns about your likes, tastes, and syntax and begins to generate its own tweets to a personalized LivesOn feed. While you’re still living, you log in to provide feedback — fine-tune the service’s grasp of what types of things you would like tweeted posthumously.
“Over the years and with advances of tech and platforms we may be able to imitate the way you talk,” Dave Bedwood, the creator of the service, told ABC News in an email. Bedwood is an executive at Lean Mean Fighting Machine, an advertising agency in London. He said he is developing LivesOn as an artificial intelligence experiment with Queen Mary University in London.
The service will also allow an executor to be chosen to decide, after you’re gone, whether to keep your LivesOn Twitter feed alive — or pull the plug. Bedwood said this service will only work if you use it when you are alive.
“We aren’t as some people thought, bringing people back from the dead and then just posting the tweets,” he said. “We need living people to make this work as they have to help train and grow their LivesOn account.”
Questions about who owns your social media and Internet accounts after you pass away have swirled for years. New Hampshire State Rep. Peter Sullivan introduced legislation to allow the executor of an estate control over the social networking pages of the dead. There have been similar questions about who owns your iTunes or other media downloads.
But with LivesOn there may not be such a debate, since users will actively be registering to have their names and accounts stay active after they die and will require an executor.
“At the point when someone who has used this for a long time dies, LivesOn may be in a position to keep on tweeting as a version of themselves. But this would only happen with consent at the start from the user and also their LivesOn executors — a family member or close friend who decides whether the feed can stay live or not,” Bedwood said.
The LivesOn service will launch this March, and while Bedwood acknowledges that some people may find the service creepy, he said he believes the experiment pushes forward artificial intelligence in this time of social media personas.
“This to me, this is no weirder than any afterlife that has been promised by organized religion, or hell that has been threatened,” he says. “It’s just a sign of our times, lets explore that.”