Leaving a Digital Legacy for the Future
Many of us have been on social for over a decade. We've seen or read different information about leaving a digital footprint. What you put on social is never private, and it can hurt you with relationships, employment opportunities, etc.
I will take this view a bit further, much further from a view of a technology futurist.
When I first started getting into digital in the late nineties, I used to have hours-long philosophical debates with my two closest friends on the Internet and the future. What does leaving a digital footprint mean to our privacy and the potential impacts on our personal lives. One of my friends refused to go digital and, to this day, is non-existent on social. My other friend and I went all in. We felt that we must define our presence before anyone else does for various reasons—a form of reputation management.
One of the reasons for me is to leave a legacy. If you're friends with me on social, you may know that I leave a lot of information. Not only the common posts but also personal tastes, political views, stories from my past, among so many other things.
At times, I do not post for others, but more so for myself and my future.
There is a reason, and it has to do with A.I., Artificial Intelligence. From a futurist viewpoint, I believe that technology will have the ability to recreate digital consciences in the future if it has enough points of data with an extensive digital footprint.
At first, leaving information was more so as a living digital journal. As I became a father, it was for my children to have when I am gone. At one point, having seen the progression of technology, it is the possibility of providing a legacy for future generations.
If you're a Sci-Fi fan, you've seen it portrayed in film and television. For me, the well-known example is when Superman interacts with Jor-El A.I. in the fortress of solitude (geeking out here). I must say that we are pretty close to making that fantasy a reality.
Right now, we research our family trees on websites such as Ancestry to see where we came from and hope there is a photo of our great-great-grandparents for us to see. We even do DNA testing to understand our heritage. Imagine if your great-great-grandchildren could interact with you to see how life was in the 2000s.
For me, to get the most accurate A.I. version of myself is to leave enough data points for the future. What type of music I liked, what were my favorite foods, how did I think about various subjects or life in general.
We are setting the stage now. Our digital footprint has more to do than posting an embarrassing photo on IG that may lose an opportunity. It is also about your legacy once you are gone.