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Roman Onufrijchuk

Last updated March 31, 2013 - 1:32pm by Mark A. McCutcheon Comments (1)

Roman Onufrijchuk, Lecturer in Communications, Simon Fraser U

“Of ‘Data Wakes’ and ‘Paramortals’”

Abstract: This paper is concerned with the relationship between new media and the age-old human fear and inspiration – death. For over 300,000 years, humans have wondered at, feared, and tried to overcome death and loss as facts of human being. Now, for digital natives, death and the loss of loved ones it precipitates, may become a thing of the past through new media. In digital and networked daily life – especially due to growing numbers of digital transactions, growth of data storage capacity, increasing natural language comprehension and synthesis – we leave behind ourselves “wakes” of records, images and communication transactions – in short – the fullest personal life archives available to individuals in human history. It should then come as neither empty conjecturing, nor science fiction, fantasy or wishful thinking to suggest that in the not too distant future technology will allow us to reconstitute dead personalities based on these “wakes” of archived data, render them interactive, thereby “killing” death as we interact with our “paramortals’ or, in that form, interacting with our descendants.


  • Daryl Campbell April 15, 2013 - 6:04pm

    Roman, you may be interested in some legislation brought before EU last year "Right to be Forgotten".

    Also, Meg Ambrose, on CBC Spark this week, claims the research on data longevity says the Web preserves past a year about 10 - 15 % of data uploaded.  You may not have an online mortality beyond five years :-)