Is there an iCloud in heaven?
Unless you live in a cave, a significant part of your life has been uploaded online (storing data on devices is so Y2K). We modern-day folk now live on the Cloud. Photos, messages, emails, social media posts, and other digital breadcrumbs of our lives reside in the digital universe. Even this article was written in the Cloud.
An entire industry exists among the tech giants to develop and maintain the Cloud – to keep this parallel universe running smoothly for the digital you. Specialist companies like Workday (NASDAQ: WDAY) and Snowflake (NYSE: SNOW) exist to help traditional companies organize and exploit all of this dizzying amount of data (including data related to you) in the Cloud.
To make this topic down to earth, let’s get concrete. With a growing amount of our digitized lives being uploaded to the Cloud, we should ask ourselves a tricky question. What happens to all this data sitting there once we pass on? A video featured on Wired got me thinking about this question. Also, who gets to decide the fate of our digital remnants on the Cloud?
Sure, there are already boring but effective methods and settings of passing on access to your account. Unfortunately, you can’t access your iCloud settings in the afterlife. It’s easy to forget or not bother to do this sort of housekeeping. In that event, it turns out it’s pretty tedious for your friends and family to regain access to your accounts. Not so fun if there’s a pesky political opinion on your that you’d rather not have your great-grandkids see.
Perhaps, a ‘last will and testament’ option can be added on your social and Cloud accounts to precisely decide what happens to your data upon your demise. And, there should be more than a one-size-fits-all solution. Indeed, it would be nice to have an auto-delete ‘kill switch’ option upon death that nukes your entire account and data trail. Or, if you want something less drastic, you could flag which retweets or posts you would like to have deleted. How about an option to remove unflattering photos you’d prefer not to be accidentally used at your funeral.
Of course, if you had the forethought to do all this, perhaps you wouldn’t need the above measures in the first place.
After you’ve cleaned up your social media activity on the Cloud, it’s time to think about the next steps. How do you want to ‘live on’ in the Cloud? Literally. Artificial intelligence and neuroscience technologies are advancing at a rapid pace. Through ‘mind uploading,’ some science fiction enthusiasts hope we will literally have our heads in the Cloud. As outlandish as this idea is, perhaps it’s worth pondering before the non-digital version of ourselves expires.
While all this sounds interesting, exciting, and scary, I think I have to get my head out of the clouds. Last I checked, I haven’t upgraded my Cloud storage in years. So, in case there’s no Cloud in heaven (if I get there), I’ll tell my family beforehand to pay for the $10 monthly storage subscription.