Digital Afterlives and Genealogy Industries

by Reader in Memory, Media and Cultural Studies

Social networking has created a vast set of data that will need to be managed and we need to think about the ethics of digital afterlives. There is a new booming industry which specialises on storing, advancing, digitising and personalising our own digital legacy before we die: from avatars to holograms, androids and algorithms which can tweet on our behalf from beyond the grave. We want to explore the technologies by which we extend ourselves into the past and into the future, and the issues that arise in their wake around commercialisation, privacy and ownership. We are particularly interested in the psychology of the disavowal of death that seems to permeate the anxieties about being remembered in digital afterlives. How can we understand memory practices that are distributed between digital platforms and human agents (e.g. the ethical challenges of outsourcing memory functions to prosthetic digital infrastructures)? How do these services facilitate, address and manage the affect of loss? What are the ethical implications and challenges?

We will discuss these questions with a panel of experts:

Dr Amanda Lagerkvist (Stockholms Universitet)

Dr Elaine Kasket (Regent’s University London)

Dr Stacey Pitsillides (University of Greenwich)

Carl Oehman

11:00 – 12:30 Workshop
12:30 Buffet Lunch
1:30 – 3:00 Workshop
3:00 Coffee break
3:30 – 5:30 Interviews (each lasting approx. 15 minutes)
6:00 Film Screening Data Mining The Deceased: Ancestry And The Business Of Family (2016) and Panel discussion
8:00 Dinner at restaurant

Workshop participants and panellists:
Dr Silke Arnold-de Simine (Birkbeck, University of London)

Dr Julia Creet (York University, Toronto)

Dr Elaine Kasket (author of All the Ghosts in the Machine: Illusions of Immortality in the Digital Age)

Dr Amanda Lagerkvist (Stockholm University)

Carl Öhman, Dphil Student (Oxford Internet Institute)

Dr Stacey Pitsillides (University of Greenwich)

Date: Tuesday, 21st May, 2019
Time: Starting at 11am
Location: Birkbeck, University of London
43 Gordon Square (Room 215)
London, WC1H OPD

Find out more here

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