We spoke with Dr Elaine Kasket who tells stories about the impact of the digital age on how we live and how we die, and helps others write and speak powerfully about what matters to them.
She is the author of a fascinating book on the subject “All the Ghosts in the Machine” which I had the pleasure of reading ahead of our recording.
In this podcast, you will also learn
· The ethics and privacy of family letters
· The laws of data ownership
· The deceased’s right to privacy
· Why you need a digital will
· The need for a Facebook Legacy Contact
· The legal issues around legacy contacts
· Your digital afterlife on other platforms
· Context collapse and personal brand
· Eulogy for a digital stranger
· The DeathTech space
· Are you ready for your own digital afterlife?
· 3 tips to get your digital life in order
Welcome to The Actionable Futurist® Podcast, a bi-weekly show all about the near term future with practical advice from a range of global experts to help you stay ahead of the curve. Every episode answers the question. What’s the future off with voices and opinions that need to be heard? Your host is international keynote speaker and The Actionable Futurist® Andrew Grill.
Andrew Grill: 0:29
Welcome to Episode 11 Off the Practical Futures podcast. Today’s guest is Dr Lancaster, who told stories about the impact of the digital age on how we live and how we die. She also helps others write and speak powerfully about what matters to them. She’s the author of a fascinating book on the subject, All the Ghosts in the Machine, which I had the pleasure of reading ahead of a recording. Welcome, Alain.
Elaine Kasket: 0:49
Thank you so much for having me. It’s great to be here
Andrew Grill: 0:51
now. We came across each other’s work. When you’re asked to recommend a futures for not coming documentary, we’re both on the books as keynote speakers, an international speaker bureau speaker‘s corner. I’m glad we connected. I do love digital serendipity, and it’s great to have you here in the studio today live as we record today. What a fascinating area involved in digital afterlife. Until I come across your work, I hadn’t really considered what happens to our digital self when we die. How did you first get involved in this area?
Elaine Kasket: 1:18
I think it was about a year after Facebook became into being the year that Facebook was released upon the general public when the hounds were released. 2006. That’s a pretty consequential year, cause a lot of things were happening around then. Yeah, YouTube was about a year old and Twitter was new and Facebook was new. And I was on the site doing as you do looking around for people. You went to high school with seeing how they’ve changed. Seeing that how that compares to how you’ve changed all that good stuff. And I ran across an in memory of group, which is what happens a lot before memorialization of profiles became commonplace on Facebook, and this was a young woman. I didn’t know it was somebody that had a similar name to somebody I was looking for, but as a psychologist, which is what I am by training, I was really fascinated to see the kinds of behaviors that were occurring on that memory group where people were memorializing this young woman in particular ways. And then because privacy settings weren’t then what they are now, I was able to click through to the profile that she’d kept in life and was able to see how people were behaving on that site. And they were really interesting differences on that site. People were doing a lot of interacting talking directly to her
Andrew Grill: 2:24
cause she was there. Yes, you
Elaine Kasket: 2:26
Yeah, absolutely. Oh, I so wish I could be there with us this year. Miss you, babe. All that kind of stuff with reference to photograph that she’d posted in life continuing conversation threads from status post that she done in life. There are so many things that interested me about it. I knew that I had to go away and I was an academic at the time, and we’re dating university, got my ethical approval and undertook a formal study of it. So from there on out, it was a lot of talking to academics and practitioners. But as time went on, and as our relationships with big technology companies have changed and all sorts of questions have come up about who owns our data, who controls our data, who has the right to it. All of this kind of stuff, I thought. This is a time when we really need to start getting these issues out in front of the wider public because it’s not just about what happens to our data when we die is basically a bit about who owns you, who owns your digital identity and does their ownership and control over that decrease or actually increase when you’re not there anymore. And does big tech have more of a say over what happens to your digital remains after you die the next of kin or your family or other important people in your life? So this is what I really wanted to explore in the book?
Andrew Grill: 3:34
Well, I read so many business books, and for me, the introduction always told him, I’m going to like it. What struck me about your introduction and it really moved me was how you found out more about your grandmother’s love for your grandfather. Through the love letters, they wrote each other while he was a war, something that didn’t across in person How did you feel peering into their married lives?
Elaine Kasket: 3:52
This is really interesting because I didn’t at first have a way into the book. I couldn’t figure it out. And then I was having a chance conversation with my mother, where she was relating the discovery of this box of letters, which had been a few years prior. And as she was speaking about it, and how we’d learned so much about what lay beneath as it were and what we’d forgotten about and all the different facets of a person’s life, they don’t necessarily show you where they don’t necessarily remember and how that it all comes a light again on reading these letters, which is an incredible parallel for what happens with all of the data that hangs around high online and in local East or digital stuff that we have, where we uncover fasts of ourselves as we go back through. And people can kind of piece ideas about us together from whatever they find by searching us on the Internet. So I thought, there’s so much resonance between this story where everybody felt a different way about engaging with these letters. I felt kind of guilty and weird, and it felt very exposing and felt very intimate to read them. And I wanted to, and I did, and they moved me. But I didn’t have as much unapologetic it kind of stuff about it as my mother did. My mother just thought, Well, privacy? What do you mean? You know, these are my parents. They passed away and it didn’t cross your mind. Other people in the family wouldn’t read it all. So everybody had a different idea about what level of privacy should be on these artifacts and who ought to be able to have access to them. That’s where I found the way into the book because I realized that all of those themes were present and if anything were thrown into sharper relief by the digital age. I was also aware that given how we communicate now in this technologically mediated way, this kind of cache of letters, which is a very coherence, chronologically arranged thing, is something that is going to become an increasingly rare phenomenon. Digital remains don’t present themselves to us like that. It’s a much more comprehensive in many ways, but also much more fragmented set of objects. So there’s similarities and differences
Andrew Grill: 5:53
I mentioned before we started recording. I keep a journal used the day one happened since 2000 and live in. I’ve almost journal every day. I’ve got myself into a habit, and when I read through it, I mean yesterday’s interest. Probably 1000 maybe 1500 words long about what I was feeling when I was doing. And I’m thinking I actually don’t want anyone else to read that. It’s a It’s a letter to myself. And as I said, every day it comes up and says What I was doing 1234 years ago. Sometimes happy memory sometimes not so much. And I think that’s probably the only way you’re gonna have a chronological view of What was I doing day after day? And I think that’s very unlike other people. But back under the terms of different digital privacy, you mentioned that in your book, you question, if you had implied permission to post some of these love letters online, which you did, so who owns our content when we die?
Elaine Kasket: 6:35
This is one of the thorniest and weirdest issues that I’ve ever come across, and it’s so it’s got so many tales to it, it’s difficult to do so since it was difficult to do for the book in a coherent way, and I try my best to sum it up. Every time I say it, it can. It comes out a different way. I think that people assume that when their loved ones die, they’re going to. And if their next of kin, if there a spell. So if their father of their child that they’re going to have the same right to some digital content as they would have to a box of photographs on album of photographs, box of letters that something that’s physical so it’s often really surprising to them when they find out that whatever big technology company is controlling that data, that big tech company has a different idea about who owns those things and the rationale presented by some big tech companies like Facebook for not giving next of kin. Access to all of this material is often that it would be betraying the deceased entities privacy, which is fascinating because historically the deceased have not had a right to privacy. That’s a human right and human rights belong to people with legal personalities and legal personalities belong to the living. And so that’s one aspect big tech companies were saying. Well, actually, we’re privileging the deceased interests over year olds interests. But the other aspect that makes us really complicated is so much about Our digital footprint is co constructed and co creates. All of our information is entangled with the information of other people in still living people’s living users who’ve signed up to a site with their own expectations of privacy. Now the journal that you mentioned the Daily Journal, which right now is for your eyes only and might always be. That’s a little bit different because that’s not an interaction. But so much of what we put out there on Web 2.0 is the connected Web is connected platforms. It’s dialogue is conversation. So if you grant somebody access to a deceased person stuff unless you go to some considerable effort to separate it out, you’re giving them access to other people’s stuff as well. You might argue that that happened with letters, too, but this is something that’s a little bit more comprehensive, and there’s a lot more stuff. There’s a lot more intimate is a lot more like digital Selves and digital identities than just digital footprints.
Andrew Grill: 9:01
I like the concept that you also bring up in the book of a digital. Will you talk about the digital assets worksheet from the Digital Legacy Association, which I’ve never heard of. It is a great association. What advice could you give our listeners about which areas of their digital lives they should be paying the most attention to?
Elaine Kasket: 9:14
Well, I mean, I suppose it depends a lot on what is important to you and people personally, and not everybody’s gonna know what’s important to you unless you tell them and make your wishes known. So as with anything when your estate planning, you have to say, Hey, this is what I care about. This is where the important information lies. So a lot of it depends on how you manage your digital life. Which aspects of it means something to you are more practically important and which ones aren’t. But I suppose the thing that has to be emphasized is, no matter how much you make your wishes known in whatever format, there are always gonna be limits to your control until our rights to say, This is my information and I grant to that person are enshrined in law, and it’s really important. Underscore that right now in most jurisdictions, it’s not. There are some places, places in the U. S that are making it easier and clearer in law. What, you have your rights too, you know, For example, if you sign a designated legacy contact on Facebook, you can trust if you live in a state that has the right law in the US that they’re gonna hope that’s gonna hold water in the UK it won’t. So I guess it’s not. I’m not trying to be doom mongering about it, because I still think it’s a good idea to try to make sure that anywhere that you have important information stored, and I would really advise people if it’s mediated if it’s on a platform. If it’s online, if it’s with a company and that’s all this information that somebody needs to settle your estate, for example, bring that on home in the best way you can. You get that on a USB stick, you can put in the safe printed out. You could put on a safe because there’s all sorts of things that can go wrong when that information is overseen by other people. Likewise, for sentimentally important stuff. Don’t just trust that these platforms are gonna be around forever, that you’re gonna have your best interests at heart, that the people you care about are gonna be able to get hold of it if their photos that are important to you particularly important to you print, um out, get them in a more stable format that you have more control over. I have every faith that my daughter will have more access to a photo album that I create now say of her grandparent’s wedding anniversary party from last year. We’ve printed a photo album. Her Children and her Children’s Children will definitely have more access to that probably than anything that we posted online about that at the time I think about it. By what mechanism would a grandchild of yours be able to see? Say photos on the Facebook profile that you have? This is as yet unborn person
Andrew Grill: 11:44
in 20 years.
Elaine Kasket: 11:45
Yeah, you know, you might designate a legacy contact, but by what mechanism does the legacy contact give some future person and then the legacy contact won’t be who passes the baton. So all of these things have a massive shelf life. So my biggest advice is not so much, you know is pull off and more within your control. Whatever’s important, that’s currently managed by online platforms, and you got to do it frequently. You’re not. You can anticipate when you’re gonna die. But say there’s an important event. Say, there’s something happening that you really want to have enshrined. It’s kind of just like backing it up, backing it up another formats.
Andrew Grill: 12:19
So we should probably explain the legacy concert you mentioned a couple of times on the podcast. Also in the book, you even talk about how Facebook by become your funeral director. Many listeners may not know you can assign a legacy contact on Facebook for when we die, but what is a legacy contact and what can they do with your Facebook account?
Elaine Kasket: 12:35
It used to be they couldn’t do a whole heck of a lot. And in April, helpfully just before my book out in the U. K. And a lot of territories that could have made a major change, some edits have been made for the next release of the book, but they didn’t used to be able to do very much other than changing the profile. Picture the banner picture attaching a pin post to the top of the page, saying something they couldn’t access any background messages. And this is something I think that sometimes people are worried about in assigning a legacy contact. They think that person will be able to see too much as never the case that they can see something on Facebook Messenger When profiles memorialized, they’re locked out of that stuff. With this recent raft of changes in April 2019 they gave legacy context much greater editorial and almost moderation powers, which is fascinating because it’s another layer of responsibility. It’s kind of like if you give it a physical analogy, say you have somebody buried somewhere and there’s the business of keeping up the gravestone. Yeah, making sure there’s no weeds on it. Make sure it’s all fine or whatever this is like. If you’ve ever moderated an online forum, you know it’s no small responsibility. So the legacy contacts now have much greater editorial powers than they once did. I think that in a way, that’s the right direction of travel in terms of putting more responsibility or control back in the hands of people who probably actually knew the deceased rather than this top down general policy stuff for everybody’s the same. On the other hand, that’s the aspect that I mentioned that it’s a hefty responsibility that people don’t realize it’s much more complicated and long lived than like a traditional will executor. Once the estate settled, you’re done. You know you go home, it’s over. Who knows how long this goes on for? And that’s pretty punchy.
Andrew Grill: 14:23
I hadn’t heard about this concept until I was doing some research for where interview. But I looked at the contact of someone I knew years ago in Australia who, actually, unfortunately died about three years ago. I think he died alone because the Facebook pages, as these people are still wishing him happy birthday on there. That’s not be mineralized, which probably means no one has access to it. It’s gonna sit there forever until someone taps Facebook and said, This person has passed away, so I’m sure for every person that knows about this and has a legacy contact, there are hundreds. If not thousands of people who just have a floating Facebook page, and no one knows I can do anything with it.
Elaine Kasket: 14:55
Absolutely. I’ve read some research that seems to indicate that the vast majority of profiles of the deceased are not memorialized. And for a while Facebook was memorializing pages of people that they could verify as being deceased, even if relatives hadn’t requested it. Now. This was interesting because although that’s more efficient in a way and takes away that ambiguity and helps you understand what you’re looking at and locks down the account to prevent unauthorized persons from getting hold of your logging into it, it’s a little bit complicated because now it’s reverted to because there was a lot of people saying, Hey, my son or my daughter’s Facebook profile was memorialized without my consent. There is material in there that we needed that we now can’t get because it’s locked down, etcetera, so swung back the other way. As of the time that we’re speaking anyway, things change all the time. But now this sets up a situation where profiles con’s stay, un memorialized and potentially able to be compromised and logged into ad infinitum, which seems a little bit concerning yeah, profile. Cloners can clone even memorialized profiles, you know, but this is a situation where it could be more hacked in them or ther away.
Andrew Grill: 16:07
So this week, as we record Facebook or opening up some pop up coffee shops to help people look at their privacy settings, I’m wondering why I aren’t also saying. And by the way, you should be aware of this status. You can change it to him, and I have not heard about it from Facebook directly. Should they be doing Maur to promote this?
Elaine Kasket: 16:23
Well, Cheryl Sandberg, who, of course, tragically lost her own husband a few years ago, issue the press release in April. I think they entitled it something like making it easier to honor a loved one on Facebook, and they talked about the raft of changes that they were making. So, you know, you get these press releases when they change their policies, and I think that at the time it must have happened to me because I already had a legacy. Contact people who didn’t word triggered some point around that time. I think to look at this and settings, I think it would be helpful if that were done periodically, you know. But also I feel like there’s fairly minimal information on there. One of the pieces of information I think it’s really important to have on there is this may not be legally applicability your jurisdiction, because that’s not at all clear. I only know that because I go, you know, hip deep into it, not because of anything that Facebook’s ever told me directly. So I feel like it’s kind of on the down low that what you’re expressing online might not actually hold. Wait, if something were to go wrong and a member of the family were to challenge it so you might not have the control of your digital fate after death, as you think, you d’oh!
Andrew Grill: 17:34
So last time I looked Facebook is not the only platform out there. You been surprised tonight. So what should the platforms be doing? Because I have a Twitter profile of Instagram, etcetera, etcetera. When I die, they’re gonna just stay the way they are. What should they be doing?
Elaine Kasket: 17:46
Well, Facebook and Google are the platforms that have done the most obvious and, you know, kind of well developed toe work on trying to figure out what to do with the data of the deceased. There are some other companies that may have if you look into the fine print. For example, Yahoo, which was involved in with the first big postmortem privacy cases I write about in the book The case of Justin Ellsworth and his dad trying to get his e mails off of Yahoo. He was killed in Iraq and his father wanted access to the content. But yeah, who had said it was a delete upon death policy and and some companies might have delete upon death policies. But they don’t have the mechanisms for demonstrating, improving that a person is dead or the department that handles it or the means to verify it. So this kind all of that’s not there. So sometimes there’s an absence of policy. Sometimes there’s an absence of policy that people know about, and sometimes there’s an absence of personnel or a I or whatever else is needed to back that up. And so I’m of the opinion that pretty much any sight, any app, anything that involves taking our personal data they need to design with the end in mind even sites that aren’t digital legacy websites and those things exist. Digital Legacy service is for the express purpose of managing your data after you’re dead. Most the platforms were used most. The Alps we use aren’t that. They’re just, you know, service is that deal with our personal data, but they need to have planning with the end in mind, and they need to stipulate as part of signing it up, let us know what you want to happen to this data when it isn’t it when you’re not around anymore. That said, though, unless you have the law on the regulation of the top guiding people, it’s kind of like the health and safety executive here in the U. K. Right. So here’s the health and safety executive, and you’re having a problem with a manager at work and whatever workplace you’ve got. If they’re subscribing to what the Health and safety executive’s management standards say that HR department will say, Oh, here’s the six management standards. Whatever procedure we have that make reference to those management standards, there’s guidance from up here. We’re in a situation where we don’t have guns from up here, so I think that all companies that operate online with a personal data need to have ideas about what happens with the end and when the end comes. But ultimately we’ve got to get this up to the level of law and regulations a lot, and the people at that level aren’t dealing with it.
Andrew Grill: 20:10
I couldn’t agree more. The reason I decided to dedicate a whole podcast on this is because I think it’s so important because I’m a futurist. I need to look at the future in the future. I won’t be here in my family will be. So I think it’s so important if our show and others can actually help raise that, as you say when you sign in that signing here, only details, by the way, maybe not right. They’re dedicate legacy contact. But in about a week’s time, we’re going to remind you that we want to know what you want to do. If something happened to you because it’s it’s going to happen.
Elaine Kasket: 20:36
I think it should happen at point of sign up. I don’t think that account should
Andrew Grill: 20:39
make us two more, but But it joined this great side, by the way, when you die. What are we gonna do?
Elaine Kasket: 20:43
But the thing is, is that people go through and they take all the things they’ll take, all sorts of other stuff. They with respect to the data. And this is the thing. There’s no sense and not looking at it. You know that. You know, at least when there is, then law, right? You know, there’s already the infrastructure in mind, you know, you know, created so that companies don’t have to scramble toe, and it it causes less problems.
Andrew Grill: 21:02
Field one extra field. Who’s your legacy? Combs?
Elaine Kasket: 21:04
One extra field and the training. And of course, that you know, whatever their policy is, they have to have the infrastructure to back that up. So it’s not just putting something on a page or so saying, If you want us to do this with it, then they have to be prepared to do that, I think. Okay, well, if we get notified Well, who’s gonna get notified? How are we gonna get notified? What are we gonna ask for? Who can provide proof of this person’s passing? You know all of the traditional structures, like, you know, tax structures and bank structures and government structures there pretty well set up for brave people there, well established, their systems in place for brief people to be able to say, This person’s dead, Here’s that here’s the documentation, but in terms of our whole online life, it’s a completely different story. Some of the stories I’ve heard about people trying to get stuff managed is the last thing you want is the last thing you want. You know, at a time like that to be grappling with all those kinds of things when you just need to get things taken, care off.
Andrew Grill: 21:56
So you’re the mother of a nine year old. What advice you’re giving here about her digital life, and is she taking it to heart?
Elaine Kasket: 22:02
The advice is flowing the other direction, really, Actually, because one of the strands in the book that I didn’t really expect to come out so powerfully is this is really a book largely about privacy and privacy in our online existence is, of course, a lot more than just about what happens to our date after he ties throughout the whole thing. And so, the second to last chapter of my book, I talk a little bit about how much influence I’d had on my daughter’s ultimate digital legacy. And not just that, but kind of on the formation and development of her personality putting stuff about her online because nobody ever met that child knew nobody ever met that child with fresh eyes. They all. It was all filtered through what I disclosed about her on social media. I’m an ex pat. I’m from America. People in America, of course, hadn’t met her. But when they did, they would ask her these questions that were just soaked with expectations about what she was going to say because they felt like they knew her already from Facebook because of the way she was presented. And that was such a powerful thing for me to have done that I never thought about. And she, in a recent conversation about Sharon Ting, you know, parents sharing stuff online. She really took me to task for this, and she talked very, very cogently and articulately about what she felt people shouldn’t shouldn’t be doing online with respect to sharing other people’s data has never forget. Our digital footprint isn’t just formed by us. It’s by what other people share about us. It’s about what other people put out there about us. And so this was the aspect that I felt like one of pieces of advice that I would give other kids and other families the eye we should have. This conversation with my daughter sooner is that you need to talk to your family members into your close associates about what you want and how you feel about various things being shared because we don’t think about that aspect of our digital footprint. And that’s the sort of unexpected twist that I didn’t expect that to be part of the book, actually, but turned out to be so relevant. I started creating my daughter’s eventual digital legacy before she was born. So
Andrew Grill: 24:13
I want to explore that because women compare a digital self to a truce. So if you talk about a context to collapse and I hadn’t heard that tune before, I’m probably guilty of that in some respect. What is context collapse, and how does this fit in with a personal brand
Elaine Kasket: 24:25
context collapse? There’s a sociologist by the name of William Besh from the states who talked about this and on YouTube, a study quite a few years ago. Now our paper, theoretical paper. And he said, out there in the physical world offline, you could have You know how you are at the gym and how you are at work and how you are with your family and how you are with your family of origin and you can kind of compartmentalize things. You can kind of keep these boundaries and present quite differently in all sorts of different settings. I think that’s just normal. You sort of regulate how you are and how you’re interacting, depending on the context. Right, But online, there’s context collapse. So if you use one email account e mailing all these different people, you show all these different facets of yourself. Or if somebody does a Google search of you, they will find all sorts of different aspects. Some of what she wished they didn’t know, some of which you didn’t even realize were out there and do an exercise in my talks called Eulogy. For a digital stranger on, there’s a volunteer or more, one more than involved from the audience who gives us a starting point. It could be Facebook or instagram Burlington anything private digital footprint and then the audience has only 15 minutes to group up and to compose a one or two minute eulogy. And I tell them You do this like you knew this person you tell you make this is personal. It’s possible this is your summing up what they were really about, what they carried about who you know, all that stuff. It is a shocking exercise because in 1/4 of an hour, because, of course, the volunteer can feedback about how it is because of the context collapse both in time and being a source of feedback and all the different platforms. People can give the most stunning summation of this person this volunteer. Sometimes they’re factual inaccuracies, but in terms of the kind of it’s amazing what people can pull together. So this is an illustration, but that’s funny. People knit together the story in a way that you wouldn’t if you know they emphasize things that you might not have. They prioritize. Things were like, Well, that’s not the main thing or whatever. So, depending on how they search it, what they find, they’ll knit together a different narrative of who you are and what you’re about And so that’s how different story could be created about us after we’re gone and the story would have created, for it was sort of told for ourselves.
Andrew Grill: 26:46
How do the subjects react to that? Because they’re being eulogized and during the room
Elaine Kasket: 26:50
there, stunned. I did this at Rebel Book Club, which is an amazing nonfiction book club here in London. It’s got chapters in Berlin and elsewhere as well. There were three volunteers, and they were saddled with the and one person had a song from their Spotify profile, playing in the background and YouTube video of them playing on the screen. And they were talking about them and members, their family. And the suit was absolutely gobsmacked. And a lot of the reactions are had no idea that was out there about me, and sometimes that’s because they didn’t put it there. It was their mother or their partner of their sister there, a friend or whatever, and it was drawn from all of those places. And so every single way in every single little direction, the different contexts in which we live our lives in the physical world collapse into this brick collage online. It’s fascinating
Andrew Grill: 27:40
So I’ve had guests on the show. Talk about Finn, take and short tech. You’re in the death text base.
Elaine Kasket: 27:45
I’m in the death tags phase. That’s so funny. Because my colleague James Norris from the Digital Legacy Association years ago, he went to south by Southwest when he initially launched dead social, right? And some guy came up to him. I don’t remember what year it was. I think I can’t remember if I feel like it was I’m going to say the wrong year, so never mind. But some guy comes and he’s like, Hey, man, yeah, you’re the death tech space. I’m in the test tech space to cool, awesome. And chance was like being very England sitting there thinking what the death text phase on s. Oh, there are a lot of people to death text based more than you’d imagine, but they’re all kind of fragmented out. There’s lawyers and academic lawyers who are interested the legal side of things. There are, you know, developers who sometimes have, like an intellectual technological fascination or have this marketing fantasy like Oh my God, I have a product for everybody because 100% of people die and I’m gonna be a millionaire. And they don’t realize that so many developers have gone before them and, like, failed with their digital legacy stuff. There’s developers, there’s lawyers. There’s like regulators try and get their head around and then, like backing away like thinking about something else. There’s philosophers. There’s digital ethicists. So there’s so many people who were interested in this particular area, and it’s only gonna get more intense because the thing is more of a critical mass of people are starting to die, right? So we forget how short of a time this has been around and we’re gonna get to the point where all of these digital era folks are going to start dying off. And we want to make sure that we know where we’re at with this stuff, so that will avoid being wrong footed in the future.
Andrew Grill: 29:22
So, Elaine, are you ready? If you were to die tomorrow, what are you doing personally to prepare for your own digital afterlife?
Elaine Kasket: 29:29
I’m 60% ready and
Andrew Grill: 29:32
you live to 100.
Elaine Kasket: 29:34
I have done a lot more than most people have done with respect to well doing my actual will and my no lasting powers of attorney and things like that. So I’m really sorted out in that space. I have a practice where I pull sort of important digital stuff off regularly and physical eyes it on photo books. I am making sure that I continue aural storytelling stuff in terms of, you know, talking to my kid about stories I have heard and sharing stories with, you know, upper generations. Because that’s a tradition that will never change. Whatever the digital world has changed, it hasn’t changed that. So a lot of those things which don’t sound explicitly digital are things to counter act. You know, I make sure that I am kind of engaging and recording stuff and keeping stuff in a non digital format that other people know the significance off. I do have a legacy contact on Facebook, but most of what I’m trying to do isn’t specifically about me. It’s about other things. It’s about a call to action, to organizations and the lawmakers and to regulators. Whoever’s got their head in the sand that they need to get their head out of the sand and start designing for the end from the beginning.
Andrew Grill: 30:44
Now the end of the book, you provide 10 excellent tips for us to get a digital life in order before we die. If I hold you to just three things, as this is the practical futures podcast, what can listen to be doing next week to prepare for the digital afterlife?
Elaine Kasket: 30:57
The last thing it was, forget immortality and I think give up any conceit or assumption of online this forever because we have this very much in our discourses on Linus forever. It’s often offered as a cautionary tale. Somehow it’s become truth in our minds. And it’s not online, so not forever. There’s all sorts of ways in which stuff can go by the wayside. So if there’s important stuff to you, make sure that it’s stored in a something more stable weaken. Still, you know, the historians of the future might be able to get their hands on Egyptian papyrus scrolls more easily than will be able to find a MySpace profile from 2004. Right? So there’s that. The other thing is, always assess and never assume, because we tend to think that the things that the same laws or rules that apply to physical stuff applies the digital stuff, and it doesn’t very often. We don’t have the rightto pass on digital stuff the way that we think that we do. So always check the terms and conditions and ask the questions that you need to ask. And the 3rd 1 I’m gonna go cheekily off book, although not not really. I think it’s in there somewhere in some format is to spread the word about this because I’m trying to do that. And I’m hoping that by extension, people who engage with this idea and read the book do it as well. This is something that every single journalist who talks to me says, I’ve never thought about this before, but I want that to stop happening quite as much because I want this to be something that’s much more on people’s radar.
Andrew Grill: 32:17
So how come people find out more about you and your work
Elaine Kasket: 32:19
right where you can go to Elaine casket dot com, where there’s all sorts of links to places I’m gonna be speaking or stuff I’ve been writing or stuff that’s been happening about the book in the press. They can look out for the now now in the UK and in most territories around the world and trade paperback. And it’s gonna come in a more compact, the format paper book soon in the new year in 2020. And just keep on engaging with this idea and give me Ah, follow me on Twitter if you want. Also on the lane casket And I’m always happy to talk to people and speak to people in different audiences about this topic. So shoot me an email and we could talk
Andrew Grill: 32:54
online. Thank you so much for your time today.
Elaine Kasket: 32:55
Of course. Thank you for having me.
Andrew Grill: 33:02
Thank you for listening to The Actionable Futurist® Podcast. You can find all of our previous shows at actionablefuturist.com and if you like what you’ve heard on the show, please consider subscribing via your favourite podcast app. So you never miss an episode. You can find out more about Andrew and how he helps corporates navigate a disruptive digital world with keynote speeches and c-suite workshops at actionablefuturist.com Until next time. This has been The Actionable Futurist® Podcast.