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your

digital life
your digital
death
“The easiest answer to ‘why do we exist’ is because we
humans have decided to and why we exist right now hinges upon
what this ‘we’ is? who is this ‘we’?... That becomes key because humans
have decided that ‘we’ are the ‘we’, if you will in all of this and that the
reason we exist is because we have decided that we do and that once
another new definition of what constitutes the human comes
about I think the current form we are in right now will
no longer exist we will become something else.”
Dr John Troyer: Professor of Death and
Dying Practices: University of Bath

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“This is the internet equivalent, ok, this is the digital
equivalent of like ‘you hold the mirror up to somebody’s mouth
and if you see there is fog on it you know they are breathing and they
are still alive’ and so you send an email to somebody, you send a message
on facebook your kind of holding that mirror up and seeing if you get
the fog back and if you don’t get the fog back. So its so funny
because that absence, that tele-absence is not acceptable.”

Dr Elaine Kasket: Senior Lecturor at London Metropolitan


University Counselling Psychology and a
psychotherapist in private practice.

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“There a co-development of our societies and the
way we exist within the world and our technics so the
way we develop technologies and the way we are developing
within those systems, so to think about something like the human
condition perhaps there is no way of separating out what is
intrinsically natural and what is perhaps something we
that have created and thus becomes technological.”
Stacey Pitsillides: PhD Candidate in Design:
Goldsmiths, University of London

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“We get this question a lot what happens if your site
goes out of business, we get questions about whether were
going to be around when someone needs to have access to the
data. What we have come up with is we have put in place a portion
of our investors money into a separate account and because our site
is so cheap to actually run we have a two year runway to have all the
servers and keep all the data secure so that if we do go out of business
we will have access to be able to give all the data back to the people
who had put it in and would delete it after the two year period.
Within that two year period we would have taken all that
data out and put it in another secure place if we
were not going to be around anymore.”

Nathan Lustig cofounder of


Entrustet.com

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“There’s become such an overload of information and
so many people have become dependent on continually using
whatever device they use for information for email or looking at the
news that they are going through everything and reading everything but
they are not remembering any of it, I have a hunch I don’t know but I have
a hunch this is spilling over into people’s everyday lives, it’s not like they
are forgetting say appointments where they have to meet someone,
but I think they are forgetting events things that have occurred.”
Dr John Troyer: Professor of Death and Dying Practices:
University of Bath

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“The issue is then of course, how you manage all this content
and I think one of the ways in which our relationship to a lot of this
content that is left behind when we pass away will change is that we cant
experience it all, in the way we were able to with analogue content.”

Richard Banks: Senior Interaction Designer:


Microsoft Research Labs

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“Jung spoke about two types of memory. The present
memory and the memory of our ancestors and that’s the
archetypes its kind of like we carry within our genes images
and dreams that maybe they don’t really belong to us but they
belong to our ancestors and that’s what we call social consciousness
and it is with this information that we have that is being recorded in some
way and all of it is recorded, it will be much more difficult to escape
from the subconscious level of having this information coming up
again and again. So, its like an automatic reminder of our past
that maybe we would like to forget but we are not able to. “
Antonis Tryphonas: Psychologist and Health
Administration: The Cyprus Association
of Cancer Patients and Friends

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“if we are as human being in the human condition making
the internet than how does that actually effect our lives in a really
kind of pragmatic way and how do we begin to evaluate that, when we are
so intrinsically built into these systems. And if these systems are actually
having an effect on how our brains work and how our minds work,
than perhaps there really is no way of really stepping back
from that and beginning to ethically kind of evaluate it”

Stacey Pitsillides: PhD Candidate in Design: Goldsmiths,


University of London

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“So if someone has had a facebook account for many years that
could be many many thousands of contributions. Many thousands of
little slithers of consciousness, if you like, and yes if that account is not
deleted in death than all of those little moments will continue to exist.”
Peregrine Andrews is a radio producer and sound designer. He was
recently involved in the production of i-shrine (BBC Radio 4)

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“Memory is a big ongoing issue and humans have been
tinkering with this for at least well before the 19th century
but certainly we came up with early forms of photography and
the geriotypes and the idea of representing what we are seeing in
visual form that could be reproducible and made more quickly into a
painting, this has altered the very idea of what human memory is capable
of and in fact there are a lot of people who would argue that in fact
human memory began its great descent, when finally things were
put in visual form as opposed to having to understand it
and think it through it terms of its narrative form.”

Dr John Troyer: Professor of Death and Dying


Practices: University of Bath

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“Part of it is like a negative, so and so hasn’t shown up
on whatever they haven’t shown up on - you know, Skype, msn,
twitter, facebook or whatever - there is a removal of something,
something stops, somebody doesn’t show their digital face.”
Dr Elaine Kasket: Senior Lecturor at London Metropolitan
University Counselling Psychology and a
psychotherapist in private practice.

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“The physical things, for example, are constrained in the
amount of space we have in our homes, so a lot of us have boxes
in our basements and boxes in our lofts that contain physical things
that we cant bring ourselves to throw away, they are very precious to us
but eventually we fill up these spaces and we have to make these kind of
hard decisions about what we keep and what we get rid of and we are
not forced to do that with digital things, When we take shots with
a digital camera we are not forced to pay for every single shot
as we used to have to with analogue cameras so we can take
thousands of shots and just record as much as we like.”
Richard Banks: Senior Interaction Designer:
Microsoft Research Labs

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“An individual becomes dependant on that device to feel like
he or she can actually remember what it was about, as opposed
to feeling comfortable with their memory even though everyone
knows memories are of course fallible and things change and things
happen over time and it becomes something else and you may actually
believe something to be actually true but if you go back and look
it’s not this at all. So I think there is a growing insecurity on the
authenticity of the memory that is growing dependant on the
actual recording of it through whatever device is being used.”

Dr John Troyer: Professor of Death and Dying Practices:


University of Bath

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“Personal stuff I would probably, if I ever get my act
together would see to it in fact, that it doesn’t survive me. I just
want the work that I feel like has been, the stuff that I feel like has
been really thought through, vetted and well while it may be less
personal, its more important to me that that stuff survive.”
Rob Walker: journalist writer of recent article Cyberspace,
When Your Dead from the New York Times Magazine:

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“I would imagine that some people perhaps
imagine themselves living on, in the digital age.”
Yolanda: Palliative Home Care Nurse at The Cyprus
Association of Cancer Patients and Friends

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“There is a fusion of the different personalities that you have
left behind (famously we do generate personalities for each type of
application: it requires us to generate a personality) and depending on
what that application is for, you will be a different person on facebook
(famously) then you are on Linkedin for instance, (I mean - that’s like a
cliché..) but that’s how it is.. so if you collate the lot, you see how this
person sees themselves in terms of one and not the other. There is a
personality fusion that happens between all those different portals.
So from the stuff that you leave behind there will be bits that
apply to different parts of your life, that are quite different.”

Michela Magas: MA in Communication Art & Design:


Currently a design consultant and PhD researcher.

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“I think people create attachments in a way this is how the world is
created, we are related to each other, we are connected to each other,
so when a person dies, either digitally or really, or just hangs up the
phone and moves somewhere else or whatever, its absence as well.”
Dr. Niki Lambropoulos is a researcher, consultant, e-learning
expert, HCI designer, and online communities’ manager.

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