The newest and most controversial Facebook application to be launched allows users to live forever, at least online. And it’s not just in the form of some static profile. The Eternal Life application learns and then lives, and then keeps on living—forever.
Facebook has taken over as the most utilized way for people to network with one another in a simple and colorful style, but it has had trouble generating money. It’s also had some strange stories of deceased members maintaining profiles for long periods of time—sometimes kept as a shrine and sometimes never taken down because nobody really knows who the person is or that he or she died.
Instead of trying to take profiles down in the case of death, Facebook has decided to embrace the inevitable, and offer a beyond lifetime guarantee on their service. “Basically, if the service has not been accessed for more than six months (earlier if requested), and the customer paid for Eternal Life, we then set the profile to ‘automatic,’” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
The profile will continue to function as if the user is still alive, receiving photos and other updates from friends. However, using aggregated data from past behaviors, the profile will also continue to interact with friends, just as if the person owning the profile was still among the living. For example, if Grandma Gerty tended to “Like” photos of her grandkids, those photos will receive the same consideration well after she has passed on.
Taking it even further, users will be able to create a list of favorite catch-phrases or quotes to be used as comments. “This goes well beyond ‘LOL,’” said Zuckerberg. “The profile will assess what is being said in the post, and the comment will relate to that post, in the words of the eternal user.” For example, if Gerty’s son posts a comment about the Packers’ injuries, her profile will answer with, “I always liked a man in uniform,” or maybe “Go Pack Go.”
Facebook realizes that advertisers would like a piece of the undead, as well, so users who liked their products in life will continue to post about those products long after they have any use for them. If Grandma Gerty liked Good Housekeeping Magazine, she will send her granddaughter and great-granddaughter posts about subscription opportunities.
Since eternal life through technology is still a decade or so away, Facebook sees this as its best opportunity to capitalize on the early stages of man’s desire to live on as a digital being.
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