A number of films like the soon-to-be-released Transcendence have examined the thorny issue of housing a human intelligence in a digital context. I’ve always enjoyed these movies, in part because the concept is still so clearly the realm of science fiction. However, how would it actually feel to be contacted online by a deceased family member?


Believe it or not, some folks are considering leaving a digital version of themselves behind when they kick the bucket. A company called Eterni.me aims to provide their customers with a virtual avatar that will extend their online presence beyond their death. The avatar will even be capable of responding to messages from loved ones.

The company aims to provide its customers with the means of leaving a digital legacy behind them. Eterni.ne will comb through interactions on social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as emails and pictures, and then run this data through their proprietary software to develop as complete a digital persona as possible.

However, this isn’t about providing a means of extending or dealing with the mourning process. The idea is that the data will be condensed into a digital ‘alter-ego’. Customers will be required to interact with their digital selves frequently in order for it to be as accurate as possible. As CEO Marius Ursache has said, “We’re building a product for living people to curate their memories, not a grieving solution.”


You can understand why some people might be a bit squeamish about the idea, but Eterni.me have seen significant uptake. More than 18,000 participants have signed up for the beta test, expected to launch in 2015. If this sounds like something that you’d be interested in, you can sign up and apply at www.eterni.me. My advice: give your relations time to prepare for their first ghost-poke!