Dads Sofa : A Parenting and Lifestyle blog based in Exeter, Devon. Focussing on Dad Life, Geek Stuff, and Gluten Free Living

A Digital Ghost?

Have you ever received a Facebook notification reminding nudging you to wish Happy Birthday to a deceased friend? It’s an odd experience, almost as if the internet is nudging you to hang out with an old friend. It’s almost, because any interaction is strictly one way.

What if interaction could feel like its two way, and you almost feel like you could see the one you lost?

The below video tells the story of one guys experience playing a computer game against his dead Dads previous best, and at the same time, giving what could be the best reason to play computer games.

The voice over is pulled directly from a YouTube comment that was under a video called, “Can Video Games Be a Spiritual Experience?” Could the above be described as a spiritual experience?

I sometimes wonder what technology would look like in 20 – 30 years time. If people can have experiences like the above with what would now be consider old technology, what does the future hold?

In fact, is (what we might consider) a future technology already happening?

I read a theory a few months ago, that you could argue that human beings are separated into two separate states. One is our physical bodies. The other is our identities, or our souls.

Most (if not all) religions have a concept of an afterlife. A place where the soul lives on, but what if our earthly identity could be captured?

Eternime is one example of a company with plans to help your digital identity live on. They plan to combine everything you put on social media, photos from smart phone, email, and so on – the aim being to create a digital version of yourself, that will be accessible after you die.

According to the BBC website:

“Depending on the facts it has collected, the avatar will be able to offer anything from basic biographical data to being an engaging conversational partner,” says Marius Ursache, Eternime’s founder.

It is set to launch next year, and according to Eternime, more than 37,000 people have already signed up for the service.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure how I feel about this.

On one hand, I’m not going to be around for ever. Could there be some comfort in having a “digital dad” available online after I’m gone? But what if the service fails? Wouldn’t that be some sort of “second death”?

Doesn’t the idea of a “second death” sound creepy?

Does the whole thing sound a little creepy? People I’ve spoken to have commented on how weird it sounds. Is weird, because it sounds unnatural? And is it so unnatural, that we’re in danger of not just playing God, but going full blown Black Mirror? 

One last thought. If parents are meant to set an example to their children, how are we meant to set an example about something like this? 

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Looking For Good News?

Have you ever woken up, and checked the news, wondering what else is wrong with the world?

Perhaps with something like this going through your head?

Good News Page

The Sofa cant shake the feeling that the world is filled with bad news story followed by bad news story. (At least according to the newspapers anyway…). Well The Sofa has cracked a little, and has created The Good News Page on Facebook, in an attempt to make the web a little more positive.

The Good News Page is there to talk about the good stuff in the world.

The Good News Page is there to put something positive into your Facebook feed.

If you like the idea, can you spare The Good News Page a like, and get some good news into your Facebook world.

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The digital ‘bill of rights’ proposed by Jeremy Corbyn

As part of his battle for Labour leadership, you may have seen Jeremy Corbyn and his plans for a Digital Democracy to “democratise the internet” mentioned in the news. It seems this would be achieved by the use of a digital “bill of rights”.

A more simple way of looking at this, is that Mr Corbyn would like to make the internet a more level playing field (particularly in terms of internet speed, and access to information), and government use of the internet (with an apparent focus on engaging young people in politics). Which are policies I agree with.

The main pledge in the digital “bill of rights” that would probably get the most attention is the “Universal Service Network”, this is the pledge that says:

“We will deliver high speed broadband and mobile connectivity for every household, company and organisation in Britain from the inner city neighbourhoods to the remotest rural community.”

Sadly there doesn’t seem to be a commitment to the expected speed, and if the government would be reliant on BT for this promise. But according to his press conference, there would be £25bn pledged towards this happening. So I guess this would help the remote Devon farms to be connected.

The manifesto is available online here, and is an easy read. Reading it though I cant help shake the feeling that this has been said by previous governments before.

I would praise Mr Corbyn for his seeming want to create an inclusive society, as highlighted by comments made about not everyone being comfortable with online services, but I do feel his digital “bill of rights” misses out comment about the costs involved in buying a computer, and potentially teaching people in these online services.

Obviously many people access the web via a smart phone now, but I imagine using a number of the local and central government online services to be a challenge on a mobile device.

I like the heart behind a lot of today’s announcements, but feel more detail would be needed in the future.

For more information, check out the BBC website.

(Post originally appeared on AndesMedia – Photography and Web Design)

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Staying Safe Online

Back in the day, I used to work on a Technical Support helpdesk for an Internet Service Provider. Yes I was one of those guys you ring when your internet stops working. It was around this time, when I began to care less about how the internet worked, instead I cared more about why people used the internet, and how people behave online.

I guess it was natural then that my interested was caught, when I had email come through about a new campaign from Get Safe Online and their partners. This is a campaign aimed at making people think twice before they act online, and not fall pray to scam emails, texts, or other forms of ‘Social engineering’ where fraudsters manipulate victims into sharing confidential information.

They hope that the following advert will “encourage the public to think twice before they act online”

 

Whilst the advert can possibly seem a fear inducing, I guess its to raise awareness. For example, you cant always believe that you’ve had an email from a friend who has randomly found himself stuck in the Ukraine., and needs money to get home*.

The Get Safe Online website is worth a look for their massive amount of advice ranging from online banking to safeguarding children.  While I’m not likely to send money to someone who says they’re randomly stuck in the Ukraine, resources to help educating our little one as she grows up in a more connected age then myself can only be helpful

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