How many 'memories' do you have in the form of pictures and videos across all the devices and digital accounts you use?
If you're anything like me, probably thousands from over the years (granted, most of mine are of Doughnut, my dog).
For some of these items or accounts to be lost, even in my absence, it would be rather tragic, I would imagine for my family, too.
Every day, people lose access to their loved one's digital memories. Forever.
When a loved one dies or is incapacitated, chances are, you would want to access their digital accounts for those sentimental items. After all, these online profiles and accounts are part of their ‘digital legacy’, however large or small that may be.
As well as sentimental value, there may be other circumstances where someone might need access to a deceased's digital account:
- the online content might need to be controlled to protect the privacy of the deceased, or
- to obtain passwords and login details in order to safeguard the deceased’s financial property.
Most people haven’t even considered what will happen to their digital assets when they die. A recent YouGov survey of 2,000 members of the public in the UK showed that while 64% of respondents considered what happened to their sentimental digital assets to be important to them, 57% had not made any plans at all.
Most of us don’t think about it until it’s too late.
These accounts often have terms and conditions that mean they are private and not to be shared, even after someone dies.
Thankfully, some social media companies and internet service providers have put tools in place that allow you to decide how your loved ones can access your accounts should you lack capacity to access them yourself, or after your death.
To help, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners have created a simple but useful resource to help people set up legacy settings on digital accounts for Facebook, Google, Apple, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. It's worth checking out if you don't already know how to set up your accounts for passing on this invaluable information. If you already know how to do it, it's still worth sharing with others.
Don't run the risk of losing your digital legacy.
Of course, you might want to go and delete those 'particularly private' photos/videos before giving your family legacy access! Or not.
The economy and the paradox of technology. An overview of the relationship between technology and economics in recent history. Technology's contribution to our advancement can be a double-edged sword and the hubris it can generate needs to be disciplined by virtues of prudence. You need only to look at the financial sector to see that the results of modern technological development can be potentially damning, as well as highly beneficial. "While technology has helped diminish uncertainty and risk in some areas, it has proved incapable of eliminating human fallibility, weakness or our inability to know everything". [Engelsberg Ideas]
Interview: Vitalik Buterin, creator of Ethereum. Whether you are a crypto or blockchain geek or not, it's worth a read because "he’s very clearly just a smart, friendly guy who just wants to build cool stuff and not rip anybody off." [Noahpinion]
👂 Nick Lane: Origin of Life, Evolution, Aliens, Biology, and Consciousness. Nearly four hours of fantastically stimulating conversation from Lex Fridman's podcast, where you can probably learn more by listening to it than from a full seven years of British private school education. Nick Lane is a biochemist at UCL and author of a number of books on biology, chemistry, and life. You'll have a hard time not wanting to read them after listening to this.
The Despotism of Isaias Afewerki. On the off-chance that you ever find yourself wondering why there has been so much (seemingly never-ending) war and famine in and around Ethiopia, look no further than a man named Isias Afewerki. "Isaias is an underestimated cypher, a lesson in understated ruthlessness. In an era when autocrats have adopted new guises and mastered new tactics, he has persevered with old-fashioned forms of absolute despotism. He has not even pretended to change. He simply outlasted his most vigilant adversaries, expecting that, in due course, a new set of foreign leaders and diplomats would suffer amnesia, gamble on appeasement, or simply not care about norms of human rights and democracy." [The Baffler]
Thanks for reading.
I hope that some of these passages gave you something to think about or wallow in. Let me know which comments or links resonate with you, what you think of the newsletter, and if there's anything I can support you with.