How Facebook Makes You Immortal

The preservation of individuals' online profiles after their physical death extends their life in a very meaningful sense, says Australian philosopher Patrick Stokes. 

What's the Latest Development?


Australian philosopher Patrick Stokes argues that the persistence of our online profiles after our physical death makes us immortal in a very meaningful sense. If our fear of death is not limited to the extinction of our physical being, but extends to include our identity as something which exists across time, people's interaction with the online profiles of the deceased seems to alleviate that fear. "Looking at these Facebook pages of dead people, what struck me was the way that people continue to interact with them," said Stokes, "and that's because Facebook is one of the main technologies that we use to communicate our identity."

What's the Big Idea?

Might technology advance to assuage our fear of real physical death? Already there is a website that seeks to preserve your identity as an avatar with which future generations can interact. Called Virtual Eternity, after loading photos and filling in some personal details, "the website creates an avatar of you that, with the use of artificial intelligence, can answer questions as if it were you--based on the short script you've supplied." While uploading your consciousness to a computer is theoretically a way around death, Stokes doubts whether anything happening inside a computer would count as something he, as a human, calls experience. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

What’s behind our appetite for self-destruction?

Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?

Photo by Brad Neathery on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Each new year, people vow to put an end to self-destructive habits like smoking, overeating or overspending.

Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

Douglas Rushkoff – It’s not the technology’s fault

It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.

Think Again Podcasts
  • It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
  • Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
Keep reading Show less