BY: AYA TSINTZIRAS
“If I could just hear their voice one last time,” we often think to ourselves in the wake of a loved one’s death. Unfortunately, the rise of social media has introduced a whole new level of tragedy—the unbearable thought that you will never again receive from them a text, email, or see that little “…is typing” notification on your Facebook chat.
Haunted by this notion, Daniel Eagleman, a neuroscientist who is also a New York Times bestselling author and regular speaker, has come up with Deathswitch, a system that—for little to no money—allows messages to be sent via email to the people you love after your death. The Deathswitch website defines it as, “an automated system that delivers critical information to designated users after your death,” allowing you to write a heartfelt message to someone you love, but also enabling you to share important passwords. Despite the obvious security issues associated with sharing important passwords with a third-party application, the website assures users that, “We leverage all possible security measures and encryption technologies to ensure the safety of your messages against hackers.”
The website will also ask you for your password on a consistent basis to be sure that you haven’t yet kicked the bucket. You can set it up to request this information on either a daily, or yearly basis (assumedly proportionate to your expectations of life expectancy). If you don’t input your password, it will keep asking, and if you continuously fail to reply, it concludes that you have died and emails out your messages.
The site has a sense of humour about the afterlife – you can write and send an email to a fake address in order to see how it works, by pressing a button on the site that says,“Wait – I’m still alive!”
If you only want to send one email to one person, the system is free, but if you want to, say, send a total of 30 emails to 10 people at a time, the system costs $19.95 annually.
The messages can also be scheduled for a decade or so in the future, so that for instance, if one spouse dies earlier than the other, an anniversary message or birthday wish can be emailed 20 years later.
If you decide to sign up for Deathswitch, just be sure to pay close attention to the application’s password prompts—else risk the stressful situation of your messages being sent out prematurely. Though at first your loved ones will feel sorrow—beware. Once they realize you’re still alive, they will be pissed, and with the arsenal of secret passwords you’ve accidentally provided—they will fuck with your Facebook.