Memorality: The Future of Our Digital Selves

University essay from Umeå universitet/Institutionen Designhögskolan

Abstract:

Digital Immortality or Not?The aim of this thesis was to explore how we might be stewards for our post-life digital self after physical death, and to provide a new interaction experience in the form of a tangible, digital, or service design solution.

Prior to the project kick-off secondary research, including academic research papers, analogous services, and existing projects, was distilled to form topical questions. These questions were then presented in many casual topical conversations and revealed that although post-life digital asset management awareness is increasing, little consideration exists on how to reflect legacies into the future long after death.

A second stage of primary research included multiple on-site investigations, paired with in-person interviews and a quantitative online survey. Insights and understandings then lead to initial concepts that were tested to address distinctive qualities between tangible and digital design solutions. The main findings included that although people want to be remembered long after they die, current methods of tangible and digital content management can not sufficiently support the reflection of legacies long into the future.

In conclusion, this thesis argues that to become part of an everlasting legacy, the interaction experience can leverage commonalities and shared moments from life events captured in digital media. These points of connections rely on associated metadata (i.e. keyword tags, date stamps, geolocation) to align relevant moments that transcend time and generations. The solution proposed here harnesses the benefits that both digital and tangible media afford and are presented as a tablet interface with an associated tangible token used as a connection key.

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